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News » Larry Brown speaks on Iverson's return to 76ers

Larry Brown speaks on Iverson's return to 76ers

Larry Brown speaks on Iverson's return to 76ers EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The bond Larry Brown has with Allen Iverson is similar to one shared by siblings.

Brown, the old-school NBA coach, and Iverson, the thrilling-yet-perceived-to-be-selfish perennial all-star, have had their run-ins. But like brothers, the duo shares an appreciation and unconditional love for each other.

So, as expected, Brown, the Charlotte Bobcats coach, said he's happy that Iverson rejoined the 76ers .

"I'm thrilled," said Brown, who coached Iverson and the 76ers for six seasons. "I think it's a great thing ...

"You know, he still can play, and he's in an environment where they love him," he said before the Bobcats played the Nets last night. "I don't think there's any athlete in Philly more loved than him."

Iverson agreed Wednesday to a prorated amount of the $1.3 million veteran's minimum one-season salary. The 6-foot guard will make his debut Monday night against the Denver Nuggets at the Wachovia Center.

"They were afraid to play him against us," joked Brown, whose Bobcats host the 76ers tonight at 7. "Nah, I bet [Monday's game is] close to a sellout. I bet it might even be a sellout. I think it will be a neat thing, a neat story, hopefully like Brett Favre."

But Favre, the former Green Bay Packer great turned New York Jet turned Minnesota Viking, doesn't come with as much baggage.

Iverson's first tour in Philly had plenty of ups and downs.

There's the NBA MVP award, four scoring titles, two All-Star Game MVP performances, and an NBA Finals appearance in 10-plus seasons.

There were also the off-the-court distractions and countless clashes with coaches, who in most cases were eventually fired.

Iverson even had plenty of well-publicized run-ins with Brown. One of Iverson's blowouts during the time was the infamous "We're talking about practice!" at the end of the 2002 season.

Tired of his antics, the 76ers traded him to Denver on Dec. 19, 2006.

Since leaving Philadelphia, Iverson wasn't exactly a good mix in Denver, Detroit, and Memphis. He openly complained about having to come off the bench in Detroit and Memphis.

Perhaps, that's why his Grizzlies career consisted of just three games this season. Memphis waived him Nov. 16 before he even played in a home game.

Initially unable to sign on with a team, the 34-year-old announced his retirement Nov. 25.

"You know, I spoke to him when he retired," Brown said. "It was just to keep people off his back and not have to answer that question. He's been really, really troubled by this whole thing. And now it's all behind him."

Is it really?

An emotional Iverson wept during Thursday's news conference to mark his return to the 76ers . He expressed his gratitude to 76ers fans and the organization for allowing him to resurrect his career.

Brown saw that news conference. Yesterday, he was asked why Philly fans should believe Iverson is sincere.

"I really don't care what you think, to be honest, and I don't think he does," he said to the reporter. "I know Allen. I know how much the game means to him."

Brown said he also knew how humbled Iverson was sitting at home without any teams pursuing him.

"I spoke with him a lot this summer," the coach said. "All he wanted was a chance to play. I honestly think he felt a lot of people would give him that opportunity."

It didn't happen.

"And we are all thankful that it all worked out in Philly," Brown said, "and he's going to play Monday."

Actually, Brown hopes to see him in a 76ers uniform beyond this season. He thinks Iverson is young enough to keep playing, and added that the guard feels confident that he can play.

"So I think it will be a good thing," Brown said.

Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at 610-313-8029 or kpompey@phillynews.com.

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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 5, 2009


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