AI RIPS CRITICS
Allen Iverson answered his critics on the court, then took them to task off of it.
For a month, he bubbled with frustration as his image of being the toughest little man in the NBA eroded. He missed 16 games with soreness in his back, a vague prognosis that fueled suspicion he was just upset about being benched.
There was rampant speculation that Iverson wouldnt play again this season but he appeared in his new role Sunday night against, fittingly, the team he carried for so many years. Iverson had eight points in 21 minutes in the Pistons 101-97 victory over Philadelphia - their first home Sunday win in nine attempts this season.
He made his biggest point during the postgame press conference against critics who thought he wasnt really injured.
You have no idea how frustrated I got, said Iverson, who had not played since Feb. 25. You get all the praise in the world for being a warrior. Allen Iverson played through this injury and that injury. The doctors said four- to six-weeks and you come back in a week. Hes tough as nails.
Then, when I get an injury I never had before, an injury that bothered me the way it did, people started to question me. That was the toughest thing. I had this warrior image my whole career and then I get an injury where I cant go, its more or less people just cant believe it.
Iverson kept a very low profile, not granting interviews or sitting on the bench, during his idle period. That added to speculation he had quit on the team, which won its second straight game in as many nights after losing six of seven.
No matter how many positive things I do in the community or positive things I do for other people, (with) writers and commentators - positive is not going to sell when it comes to Allen Iverson, he said. The negative is going to sell. If you can come up with a negative story about Allen Iverson, then everybody wants to listen. They dont want to hear nothing positive about me, so thats what everybody ran with. ... I kind of understood where it was coming from, its just a sad thing.
Read more in Monday's edition of The Oakland Press.