Retired NBA star and former Philadelphia 76ers point guard Allen Iverson is the subject of a documentary making its sold out world premiere on April 27 at the Tribeca Film Festival.
“Iverson” features the controversial 11-time All Star and the 2001 MVP telling his story in his own words, including the career defining moments that made him notoriously popular.
Read the entire interview below:
TOM JOYNER: NBA All Star and MVP Allen Iverson is on the phone. What up, A.I.?
ALLEN IVERSON: What’s up, baby?
TOM JOYNER: How you doing?
ALLEN IVERSON: I don’t know, same fight, different round.
SYBIL WILKES: (Laugh)
TOM JOYNER: (Laugh) Yeah, but you seem to be on the come up now, you got this documentary that premiers at the Tribeca Film Festival this Sunday. When will we see this documentary?
ALLEN IVERSON: I’m upset you couldn’t make it to see the premiere of it, man.
TOM JOYNER: I know.
ALLEN IVERSON: But I’ll make sure you get something real exclusive, man. You don’t’ even gotta get up and go nowhere.
TOM JOYNER: (Laugh)
SYBIL WILKES: Well, what about the rest of us who aren’t Tom Joyner? Do you think people will be able to …
TOM JOYNER: I’ll share, I’ll share, don’t worry about that.
SYBIL WILKES: You’ll share?
ALLEN IVERSON: (Laugh) He’ll share, though.
TOM JOYNER: Yeah, yeah. What are we going to learn from this documentary that we don’t know about Allen Iverson?
ALLEN IVERSON: I don’t know about learning a whole much, like it ain’t a real message to it or anything like that, it’s just another life of a kid growing up in the ghetto and, you know, the trials and tribulations, the things that we got to go through to try to, you know, how this all goes. So it, it’s basically like, I know that it’s going to be moving the people that’s from there because obviously they went through all of the situations that I had to go through with me, and then guys my age, you know, had to grow up in that environment and then you got the generation that got a chance to see that story and know that anything is possible and they can make it out of there.
TOM JOYNER: You know, there’s still this perception that there’s nothing but thugs in the NBA.
ALLEN IVERSON: Right.
TOM JOYNER: And the media wants to point the finger at you all the time, or back in the day, with your tattoos and your cornrows and you didn’t want …
ALLEN IVERSON: Right.
TOM JOYNER: … and the I don’t want to practice, that, that whole thing. So how do you feel about the thug perception now in the NBA?
ALLEN IVERSON: Listen, I don’t look at those guys as thugs, you know. And it’s ironic that you brought up the practice thing, because, you know, that’s in the documentary and that explains it to everybody in looking at the whole situation a whole different way from how they’ve been looking at it. You know, they only played that sound bite, they didn’t play why I said it that many times and why I was so frustrated about it. But the NBA now, you know, I was so happy to come into the NBA with my own identity, my own style. You know, it wasn’t because, you know, I didn’t have the cornrows because, you know, I was thugging, you know, I was tired of going to city to city and people messing my hair up.
SYBIL WILKES: Right.
ALLEN IVERSON: And then I got a couple of tattoos, I got a – huh?
SYBIL WILKES: No, we were just agreeing with you.
ALLEN IVERSON: I got addicted to the tattoos and I dress the way guys from around my neighborhood dress. You know, they didn’t, they wasn’t used to that, obviously. And then once all of the other kids, or all the other young guys started doing what I was doing, you know, I guess that raised a bunch of eyebrows. And I basically took an ass whooping for that. You know what I mean? But it was kind of bittersweet because it enabled other guys to be themselves and feel comfortable about, you know, who they were. And like I said it was bitter sweet because, you know, I got beat down for it and, you know, I was the main target, but you know, I’m proud of the things that …
TOM JOYNER: All right, AI, I …
DOMINIQUE: Allen …
TOM JOYNER: Excuse me, I got to get this in. I got a what would you do, Allen Iverson? What would you do, Allen Iverson, if your son Allen Iverson, II, walked into the house in Laker gear from head to toe including the Kobe Nine elite sneakers? What would you do?
ALLEN IVERSON: I probably wouldn’t do anything because I probably was the one who bought it for him. (LAUGHTER) So I wouldn’t, I mean, that’s the way it go, I mean, he like the way I play, he love the way I play, but you know, he got his, he’s a fan of different guys and, you know, he love Kobe and Labron and all of those guys. So, you know, after games I used to tell them to sign a pair of sneakers so I can take them home for him. You know, it’s all love, man. You know what I mean? You’re not going to just love one basketball player. Guys have different talent, different styles of play. And, you know, my son is a big fan of the game, so it wouldn’t bother me at all.
SYBIL WILKES: I see politics in your future.
TOM JOYNER: Your new sneaker is pastel colored.
ALLEN IVERSON: Right.
SYBIL WILKES: Who’s idea was that?
TOM JOYNER: Who’s idea was for a pastel color sneaker?
ALLEN IVERSON: This is a generational thing, man. (Laughter) This is a different culture.
SYBIL WILKES: Pastels? Pastels?
ALLEN IVERSON: This would be the young guys, these young guys like …
SYBIL WILKES: They do.
ALLEN IVERSON: … that type of stuff. And I never could imagine it, but.
TOM JOYNER: I can’t imagine you in pastel sneakers, so.
ALLEN IVERSON: I would be obviously not doing the politically right thing saying that I wouldn’t wear them, but. (Laughter)
DAMON WILLIAMS: You wouldn’t wear them back then. (Laughter)
SYBIL WILKES: But you won’t turn down the checks either.
DOMINIQUE: And you should’ve came …
ALLEN IVERSON: I wouldn’t wear them back then. I wouldn’t wear them back then.
DOMINIQUE: And you should’ve came out with a line of ankle bracelets when you shook Mike like that. (Laughter)
SYBIL WILKES: Wow.
TOM JOYNER: Allen Iverson.