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Sports Section February 6, 2003
 
NBA All-Star Weekend Exclusive!
 
 

With the NBA All-Star Game set to take place this Sunday, we here at the eXile Sports Desk were looking to give U, the Reader, a break from the drab, uninsightful mid-season reviews that the mainstream sports media has been bombarding fans with lately. That's why the eXile Sports Desk got one of the world's most astute basketball minds to agree to do a conference call with us and rap at ya' about what's going on in hoops these days. I'm speaking, of course, of Ann Iverson, mother of Philadelphia '76ers' star Allen Iverson. We ain't got much time, so here's the transcript of the short three-way call conducted Wednesday at the eXile offices.

  • eXile: Ann, what has been the biggest surprise for you in the first half of this season?
  • Ann Iverson: I have to admit thatYao Ming has exceeded all of my expectations. There are several things that are difficult to teach young post players - not the least of which is height. I'm thinking specifically of soft touch, good hands, a sense of which way to turn on the block, and an intuitive understanding of where teammates are and where they are going. Yao possesses all of these talents, and together with his height, he's succeeding because of it.

    Also, I like the toughness he's shown. I don't like to encourage overly demonstrative behavior on the court, but I must say it was refreshing to see this young man get a technical for shrieking "And one!" after a dunk and a foul. I like the exuberance.

  • e: Legendary NBA coach Dr. Jack Ramsey recently said he'd heard a rumor that you felt Yao would be better off playing with your son, Allen, rather than with Steve Francis in Houston. I quote Dr. Jack: "Annie Iverson just be haytin' on Stevie Franchise 'cause she know her son ain't be all that since the 2001 Finals." How do you respond to this assertion?
  • AI: I really don't like to respond to baseless accusations.
  • e: What effect is the influx of international players having on the NBA?
  • AI: As far as quality of play is concerned, I think the ramifications have been-and will continue to be-positive. There's been a lot of talk about the better schooling that young European players are getting as opposed to young players in the United States, with commentators citing basic fundamentals like shooting form and, footwork as areas in which U.S. boys are falling behind their European counterparts. This is not without merit, but many fail to recognize that even our kids with excellent fundamentals often never obtain tactical knowledge. Rarely do you see good young players taking a hard dribble toward a teammate fading off of a screen to deliver the ball with momentum and sufficient velocity. They don't learn it until they get in the NBA, and by that time the Europeans are already a step ahead.
  • e: What lies ahead for your son, Allen?
  • AI: Obviously the ultimate goal is to win the NBA championship, but I know that this might not be realistic in the near future, especially with the strength of the teams in the West. And to be honest, Allen's not getting any younger. His quickness will eventually begin to deteriorate, and he won't be able to rely any more on his superior speed to create shots for himself. He's never been an economy-of-motion type of player, but he might have to learn to be, to restructure his game. Like Michael Jordan did after his first comeback.
  • e: Will he still be "[your] boy"?
  • AI: Yes, he will still be my boy.
  • e: Thank you for your time.
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LATEST ARTICLES

Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
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The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
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We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
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Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...

 
 
 

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