Allen Iverson Is Not a Fan of Lifting Weights, Minute Restrictions
As he looks to return from missing the previous two seasons because of a fracture in the navicular bone in his right foot, Sixers center Joel Embiid has been under a playing time restriction all season long.
That restriction, which started off at 12 minutes per game in the preseason and has been steadily bumped up to the current 28 minute allotment, has created quite a bit of discussion in the Philadelphia area as the league increasingly moves toward taking a cautious approach to the workload it places its athletes under.
Hall of Fame guard Allen Iverson would have struggled to play in this environment.
“Probably had major problems. (I’d) probably get fined a lot for my verbal abuse. It would have been a tough situation for the organization because I would have fought and clawed,” Iverson said about his reaction if placed under a minutes restriction. “Something had to be broke, or it had to be something real serious because I always wanted to be there for my teammates.”
Iverson averaged 41.1 minutes per game over the course of his career, leading the league in minutes played per game seven times over the course of his 14-year NBA career.
“My teammates felt like if I was on their team, that we could beat anybody. It don’t matter who’s on the roster,” Iverson continued. “I like to think that the fans out there felt the same way.”
Iverson was in town to commemorate his induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Iverson did acknowledge, in a rather hysterical manner, the apparent contradiction in that attitude considering his rather infamous thoughts on practice.
“I would never lift weights, and train and stuff like that because shit was too heavy,” Iverson explained, in a way that only Iverson could. “I would get treatment, though. I would try to heal. I would try to get my body ready in order to play. I see now these guys are sitting out and stuff like that, I never thought that could ever happen.”
Still, Iverson understands that there’s a reason behind these decisions, even if he could never accept them as a player.
“Their coaches know what’s good for them, what’s best for them,” Iverson explained. “(Gregg) Popovich is a prime example of it. He knows how to manage his players. He knows what he’s doing. That’s why he’s a professional coach.
“I understand it, but I just knew that Larry Brown would have had a problem with me trying to sit me down,” Iverson continued. “Especially if it was just rest. I could rest after the game.”
“What I would say is they care about me,” Embiid explained earlier this season. “Obviously I want to play more, but you have to trust the process. Trust the doctors, and trust those guys to do their job.”
Derek Bodner covers the 76ers for Philadelphia magazine. Follow @DerekBodnerNBA on Twitter.