By Barry Janoff
May 11, 2016: Of all the moments that are considered milestones in the life and NBA career of Allen Iverson, his infamous "practice" press conference immediately following the 2001-02 might be the infamous one to which people most often refer.
Toward the beginning of the conference, which was called to talk about his future with the team, he was asked about his coach, Larry Brown, with whom he had a love-hate relationship. The topic turned to Brown previoulsy having said that Iverson had missed practice on a regular basis, implying that was a reason the Philadelphia 76ers went 46-36 and lost to the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.
Iverson, who that season scored 1,883 points averaged 31.4 ppg, then used the word "practice" more than 20 times, taken aback by the seemingly amount of focus being put on it. "We're here talking about practice. Practice. Not a game. Practice. Not the game that I go out there and die for. We're talking about practice."
Iverson, who will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this summer, addresses the moment in a new spot from Reebok, which is part of a broader campaign from Reebok and athletic retailer The Finish Line, "20 Questions. 20 Answers. With Allen Iverson," to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Iverson signing with the shoe company.
It also anticipates the arrival of the appropriately named Question Mid Practice shoe, which hits The Finish Line this week. Other shoes also have been or will be released as part of The Question Mid 20th Anniversary collection, a reference to Iverson's nickname, "The Answer."
“Allen Iverson’s persona and talent resonates with our customers and we have captured his swagger in this video series,” Paul Diehl, director of digital brand for The Finish Line, said in a statement. “Thanks to visionaries like Iverson, the culture of the NBA is now celebrated through personal style and attitude. We are excited to partner with Reebok and Iverson to bring these legacy products that highlight his style back to market.”
In the new spot, "Practice," Iverson addresses his state of mind during the press conference. He said he was tremendously impacted by the murder of his good friend, Rahsaan Langeford, about seven months earlier, as well as the fact that the trial of the person accused of the crime had started just days before the press conference.
"I look back now and it's embarrassing, but it's funny, too," Iverson says in the spot. "I was excited to get to the press conference to tell Philadelphia that I wasn't going (to leave the team), and then everything went (awry)."
Addressing the issue of his not practicing, Iverson says with a laugh, "You name me one person who accomplished all the things I did in my career without practicing. I wish I was that talented that I didn't have to practice."
The new spot follows such others as "Misunderstood" and "Unworn All-Stars," with 11 "exclusive interviews," which started breaking around the NBA All-Star Game in February, to be released.
According to Brian Lee, director of basketball product and sports marketing for Reebok,"Finish Line has been a premium partner in celebrating the life and times of Allen Iverson through the Question Mid 20th Anniversary collection. Throughout the collection, Iverson’s innate passion, his unique style and his effect on culture are clearly highlighted.
"Finish Line has done a great job capturing what he meant to the game, both on and off the court, through authentic brand storytelling," said Lee.