SMU coach Larry Brown was profiled on the HBO show “Real Sports” on Tuesday. He was asked about Allen Iverson, who apparently told the SMU players he was the best player to ever play basketball.
BRYANT GUMBEL: “Allen Iverson.”
LARRY BROWN: “God put me here to coach him. Now, he might not agree with that. But, you know that was the most challenging thing that’s ever happened to me in my life.”
BRYANT GUMBEL: “He’d probably say the same.”
LARRY BROWN: “Oh absolutely. But greatest competitor of all time, toughest kid of all time, maybe the greatest athlete I’ve ever seen. I can’t walk in an airport, walk into a gym where the kids in the gym don’t come to me and ask me about Allen and tell me he’s their favorite player of all time. And everywhere I go in airports, people look at me and they, ‘You’re Allen’s coach.’”
BRYANT GUMBEL : “When’s the last time you talked to him?”
LARRY BROWN: “He was here (at SMU) about a month ago. He spoke to our team, Bryant, and it was the most unbelievable talk I’ve ever heard. Our kids were spellbound. And he was so open and honest with ’em. He talked about the good things he did and the things he’d like to change, which weren’t a lot. But the one thing that stuck out in my mind, one of the kids said, ‘Who’s the best player to ever play?’ Who do you think he said?”
BRYANT GUMBEL: “Himself.”
LARRY BROWN: “Allen Iverson. And he said, ‘I’m not disrespecting Michael or Magic or Julius or any of those guys.’ He said, ‘I couldn’t have done what I did at my size if I didn’t feel that way.’”
Follow Adam Zagoria on TwitterAnd like ZAGS on Facebook
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.