A.I. still watches old YouTube clips of himself ... just like the rest of us

A.I. still watches old YouTube clips of himself ... just like the rest of us

April 23, 2001 was the last time Allen Iverson appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

More than 16 years later, the mean-mugging Answer is back.

In a wide-ranging, 3,500-plus word article, SI's Lee Jenkins talked with Iverson for the magazine's annual "Where Are They Now?" issue as the former Sixers guard prepped for his debut in The BIG3. The league began Sunday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn where The Answer appeared as a player-coach for his team, 3's Company, logging only nine minutes.

Jenkins spoke with not just Iverson, but also former Sixers owner Pat Croce and BIG3 founder and rap mogul Ice Cube among others. 

Here are some highlights from the piece:

Iverson on being a full-time father with his kids in Charlotte:

I wanted to be there for the PTA meetings, for the homework. I can’t sit here and tell you I’m the greatest dad in the world. But I’m home. I can do the things I didn’t do for my older kids. That’s the thrill for me now. That’s the rush I used to get from basketball. [Tawanna] doesn’t have to always be the disciplinarian. She yells and screams. That’s what she does. Me, I give them a look. They think I might do something. In actuality, I won’t, because I’m wrapped around their finger.

Biographer Kent Babb, who wrote about Iverson in his 2016 book "Not a Game," on Iverson's struggle to be a successful parent:

I think he really wants to be a good father, a good husband, and he just can’t. That’s the most maddening thing about Allen Iverson. You really want to trust him and pull for him and believe he’ll be consistent this time, but he lets you down. I never thought he was a lost cause because he made a life out of proving people wrong. The best thing about him was that he could bounce back. So I suppose it’s possible he could do it again, not probable.

Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue on the importance of Iverson's infamous stepover from the 2001 NBA Finals:

I’d want him on my staff because he’d have the respect of everybody in this league right away. You know, if I hadn’t defended him in that series, I’d have been out of the league. He made me.

On watching himself on YouTube:

He traded Fridays in Philly for Applebee’s, The Cheesecake Factory and The Press Box in Charlotte, fished, watched League Pass and occasionally queued up his old clips on YouTube. “You know how sometimes you can do a great move, but you get so excited you don’t make the shot because the move was so good?” he says. “I dig those plays.”

You can read the full story here or in this week's issue.

Allen Iverson more of a coach than player in Big3 League's debut

Allen Iverson more of a coach than player in Big3 League's debut

NEW YORK -- Allen Iverson plans to be more spectator than scorer in the Big3.

The Iverson of old might be the only thing Ice Cube's new 3-on-3 basketball venture can't deliver.

The rapper-actor's league of former NBA players got off to a strong start Sunday, with the first two games both decided on winning shots in front of 15,177 fans.

Iverson's team won the third game, though as player-coach he only put himself in for 9 minutes. At 42 years old, the former NBA MVP said he doesn't expect to be playing heavy minutes in the 10-game season.

"But I think the best part about this game here tonight and all the other games, it was exciting all throughout," Iverson said. "It didn't need Allen Iverson the player, per se."

The quality of play was spotty, as players had to shake off sometimes years of rust. But it was certainly competitive.

"I think it's going to be incredibly good. The games are exciting, the players are still talented and they're fun to watch," said Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler, who coached Power to a 62-58 victory over Tri State in the second game on DeShawn Stevenson's 3-pointer.

Entertainers such as LL Cool J and NBA All-Star James Harden were in the crowd for the first two games before Iverson, the main attraction among players, took the court following a concert.

He may be the biggest name in the league, but his role on the court will be minor.

"I signed up to be a coach, player and captain. Coach part is going to go on throughout the game," Iverson said. "Playing part is not going to be what you expect.

"You're not going to see the Allen Iverson of old out there."

He can't be blamed, given the risk of injury for players way past their primes. Jason Williams, the flashy point guard nicknamed "White Chocolate," went down with a right leg injury late in the opener, and Corey Maggette had to come out of the second game. Both were expected to be OK.

And that might not stop more players from wanting to play. Recently retired Paul Pierce was in the crowd and Andre Owens, the star of Iverson's 3's Company, said Kevin Garnett might want to play.

"Sky's the limit. Obviously you see the debut," Iverson said. "I didn't even expect it to be like this, and then obviously guys that's retired now, to see the outcome of this situation right here, probably are going to get that itch."

Games are played to 60 points but teams have to win by two, and getting to 60 wasn't enough in either of the first two games.

In the opener, Rashard Lewis made a three-point play with his team facing game point as 3 Headed Monsters edged Ghost Ballers 62-60.

The game has gimmicks -- Lewis made the first 4-point shot and teams had 14 seconds to shoot. Team names included 3's Company and Killer 3s and some players wore nicknames on their jerseys, with Jerome Williams going with "Junk Yard Dog" on his.

Cube vowed the games would be competitive -- players are vying for a revenue share based on final league standings. There was pushing and shoving in the post and a few hard fouls, and the physicality and trash talk appeared to heat up as the games went on. With hand checking allowed, the games looked nothing like today's NBA game.

"Some people like that style, some people don't," Trilogy's Kenyon Martin said. "So we're here to fill that void for the people that appreciate the way the game has been played forever, you know what I'm saying? Basketball is a contact sport."

The eight-team league will play on 10 weekends, culminating with the Aug. 26 championship in Las Vegas. Games are shown on Monday nights on Fox Sports 1.

The 3 Headed Monsters blew a late lead after Williams went down and the Ghost Ballers went ahead 60-59 before Lewis scored and drew a foul, making the free throw to finish the game.

Lewis finished with 27 points and former No. 1 pick Kwame Brown had 17 points and 13 rebounds for the 3 Headed Monsters. Ricky Davis led the Ghost Ballers with 23 points.

Stevenson finished with 20 points for the Power, making five 3-pointers. Maggette scored 15 and Cuttino Mobley had 14.

Jermaine O'Neal scored 18 points for Tri State, coached by Hall of Famer Julius Erving. Mike James had 13 points and 12 rebounds.

Andre Owens had 20 points and 15 rebounds for Iverson's team. DerMarr Johnson added 14 points and Al Thornton scored 13.

Iverson finished 1 for 6 with two assists.

Rasual Butler made six 3-pointers and scored 22 points for the Ball Hogs. Derrick Byars chipped in 19.

Al Harrington scored 25 points as Trilogy cruised in the final game of the day. James White added 16.

Reggie Evans scored 18 and Stephen Jackson 17 for the losers.

Kevin Durant: 'Kyrie Irving is better' than Allen Iverson

Kevin Durant: 'Kyrie Irving is better' than Allen Iverson

Comparing teams and players from different eras has been a hot-button topic discussion in the basketball world recently.

Jordan vs. LeBron.

The 90s Bulls vs. these Warriors.

All debates that are tough to win because of how much the game has changed over the past couple decades, but also intriguing propositions that are near impossible to stay away from. 

Now, freshly-crowned NBA champion Kevin Durant has offered up a new cross-era take for us to debate: Kyrie Irving is better than Allen Iverson.

The Finals MVP was a guest on The Bill Simmons Podcast on Tuesday and said Irving was a better all-around player than Iverson, including that the Cavaliers' point guard is a better ball handler than Iverson. 

“Kyrie is better than AI to me," Durant said, via SLAM Online's Ryne Nelson. "I’m going from like skill for skill. His handle is better. We might have to cut that out—I don’t want no problems with AI. Y’all might have to cut that one. I don’t want that to get out. I’m just saying I feel like Kyrie got more skill.”

This is a tough one. 

Both players have really similar games, each using their dazzling handles to excel in isolation scoring. Irving, now six years into his career, is probably the better pure shooter and has been a more efficient scorer to this point in his career, but he's also had the luxury of playing alongside LeBron James for the past three seasons. 

Iverson on the other hand didn't have the opportunity to play with another star until his age 31 season and was forced to carry more of the load with a lesser supporting cast until he was paired with Carmelo Anthony in Denver.

When Irving's career is over he very well could leave behind a better career than Iverson did. 

But no matter what Irving accomplishes, I'll take Iverson's handles every time. I mean, the guy pioneered the crossover in the NBA.

Does Durant need a reminder of this?