Allen Iverson on the NBA Bubble, Vince Carter’s Secret Talent, and His New James Harden Collab

That’s awesome. You mentioned in that video that you used to draw your teammates before games back in the day.

Well, it was rare that I got [to the locker room] before everybody. [Laughs.] But if I did, I’d get in there and put something on the chalkboard just to lighten everybody up. Just to get them in that comfortable mode before we go to war.

Who would you draw?

Anybody. I don’t think I ever did Coach Brown, but all of the guys on my squad. It was just to lighten the mood, especially if it was a tense situation—like a playoff game, something like that.

So the NBA is moving ahead with its restart in a few weeks. How are you feeling about that whole situation? Do you think it’s the right move to go ahead and start playing again after all these months off? 

Don’t matter what I think. It is what it is. If I had to deal with it, I would want to play. But to each his own. I understand why some guys don’t want to play. I don’t do a whole bunch of judging. All of us make decisions. You go with the decision, you trust it, you believe in it, you honor it. And that’s that, you know what I mean? So I ain’t mad at the guys that’s playing. I ain’t mad at the guys that’s not playing.

You played in a couple of lockout-shortened seasons, where there was a more truncated time to get back into game shape. Do you think that’s something the guys in the bubble right now are going to be struggling with at all?

We hoopers, man. We just hoop. It’s like: throw the ball up, man. Let’s go. That’s my mentality, That’s how I’ve always been. Let’s go.

So not having crowds, living in this weird situationnone of that matters at the end of the day.

Nah man, what you making excuses for? Basketball is basketball. Play. That’s what it is. We all love to perform in front of people, but even if no one’s in the stands, you still know everybody’s watching.

Right. No asterisk necessary on this season for you.

Man, it all counts. Everything. All of it is legit. I don’t think you should take away from someone’s accomplishment. Everybody is dealing with the same scenario, everybody’s dealing with the same thing. It is what it is. Whoever win it should be rewarded as such. It’s just like any other championship to me.

One minor wrinkle in the bubble is that the NBA has officially relaxed its dress code, which was widely interpreted at the time as David Stern targeting you, specifically. Are you happy to see it gone, even temporarily?

Man, I think guys are supposed to dress the way they want to dress. I don’t have no problem with a guy dressing the way that makes him comfortable, that makes that person feel like themselves. I think that’s cool. I don’t think you should tell someone how to dress.

Do you feel like the way you dressed back then opened the door for the NBA style we see today, with guys really showing out in the tunnel before games? Was style a really important mode of expression for you back then?

I never assessed it like that. I just dressed the way I dress.

Vince Carter just retired after 22 seasons in the league. You guys had some great battles back in the day.

Some of them, I was on the bad end of them. [Laughs.] We had so many battles, but I just love Vince Carter—the person, even more than the basketball player. Just a great talent, a great gift to the world, a blessing to the fans. It was an honor to be able to compete with him and to know him off the court.

When you think of those off-the-court moments, does anything stick out?

Yeah. That he can dance his ass off. [Laughs.]

Really?

Yes. I mean, he’s like super incredible. I don’t know if too many people know it, but the guys and the females that know Vince—know him personally—know that he’s like a top-five dancer in the whole world.

What kind of moves are we talking about here?

Dude. Any dance in any style, he can do it. Whatever the young kids can do, whatever the fad is, Vince can do it.

So we gotta get Vince on TikTok, then.

Oh yeah, I’m telling you, man. This ain’t no bullshit. He’s incredible.

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