In a room full of stars of the near, middle and distant past at the Big3’s media day Friday, no one commanded attention like Allen Iverson, including from fellow players and coaches.
Such is the ongoing pull of one of the NBA’s most compelling players and personalities in recent decades, and why there is no more intriguing question for the new 3-on-3 league than what Iverson will look like when he takes the floor Sunday in Brooklyn.
Iverson himself isn’t sure. But he decided that rather than merely coach “3’s Company,” one of the league’s eight teams, as initially planned, he would take the floor himself.
“I want to do both,” he said. “I think it was a good idea for me to just do this for my fans. They haven’t seen me do anything in a long time. Just to get back out there and fool around and make them happy, I was cool with doing both.”
Iverson emphasized that he is 42, not 22, and that fans must adjust expectations accordingly.
What kind of shape is he in?
“Not in great shape,” he said. “It’s like somebody who’s been sitting out for six or seven years. They’re going to have to be patient with me.”
The former NBA MVP and Hall of Famer has not played in the NBA since February 2010.
Adding to the challenge: The Big3 will allow hand-checking, which was banned by the NBA early in Iverson’s career.
“It’s going to be something that I’m happy to adjust to,” he said, “but I’m pretty sure I can outthink hand-checking.”
What does he expect from the style of play in the 3-on-3 league? Iverson answered by talking about . . . practice.
“I don’t know,” he said. “We’ll see when we get out there. It’s totally different when you’re just doing it in practice and stuff like that. When you get out there, it’s a totally different monster.”