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February 20, 2005

Allen Iverson


Q. Allen, did you come in with a pass-first mentality tonight? It looked like you were really looking to set up the players more so than thinking about scoring.

ALLEN IVERSON: Well, I mean, it's the All-Star Game and I'm not -- I'm not playing on the team I usually play with. They need me to do a lot more things than I have to do out here, but, I mean, I'm playing with the greatest players in the world and I'm playing with four other All-Stars. So, I mean, in a game like this you just let it come to you, however the game is flowing and that's the way you play. The game is easy for me like this, just having four other guys, I didn't get double-teamed all night. You know, I didn't get the attention that I usually get and it just makes it that much easier for me.

Q. You didn't get a lot of the attention because you had other guys doing that like Shaq and LeBron. With Shaq now in the East and LeBron coming on, do you think that the balance of power has really shifted towards the East?

ALLEN IVERSON: Absolutely. When you take Shaquille O'Neal from the West and then bring him to the East, you know, nine times out of ten, you can say that the East is stronger, regardless of the other four guys that you have on the floor because he's going to make everybody so much better and he's going to do so much for a team. It's not with just his scoring or his passing ability or his rebounding or anything like that. It's his presence. You know, when you've got a guy on the floor and so many people give him that much attention, it just makes the game easier for you and I mean, he's the easiest player in the world to play with. I found out firsthand tonight. I thought about coming to this All-Star Game and everybody was talking about, you know, why is this one so special. Well, one of the main reasons is I had an opportunity to play with somebody that I thought was the most dominant player in the world, and it's something that I'll remember and cherish.

Q. Just curious, the alley-oop to LeBron James in the first quarter, how did that happen?

ALLEN IVERSON: It was just on a break and my man took his eyes off LeBron and came to pick up the ball and once I saw him make a move towards me, I just threw the ball in the air. With LeBron and Vince and those guys, you don't have to throw a perfect pass. I mean, they will make it look perfect.

Q. This is the second time that you're All-Star MVP. Last time a lot of controversy swirled around you and you've gone through some up and downs. What's going to be different about this All-Star MVP Allen Iverson compared to the last one?

ALLEN IVERSON: I'm older. Simple as that. I mean, you can't expect me to stay 25, 26 years old forever. You've got to grow up. You know, a lot of mistakes that I made before in my life, you know, I wish it never happened, but I'm happy that I made those mistakes and make sure I don't make them again and learn from them. It's all in becoming a man. When you're in the NBA and you come into the league, everybody expects you to be some guy that's grown already, a grown man, you know, and not make mistakes, but I mean, I'm from the ghetto, and, you know, people give me $1 million at 21 years old. Yeah, I didn't know how to act. But, I mean, I'm a grown man. I'm a husband, I'm a father, you know, with three kids and one on the way. I've got a 10-year-old daughter that can read the paper now, and that understands things that she sees on TV. (Laughter) so I think about that before I make a lot of decisions that I make now. And the whole thing is just me maturing and getting older. A lot of things that I've done in my life, I'm not proud of, but I'm proud of the fact that I recognize that, you know, those things weren't the right things to do and I move forward in my life and I'm trying to be a better person first and then a better basketball player.

Q. On TV you dedicated the game to the passing of your best friend's mother. Can you expand a little bit on the best friend and what kind of relationship you had with his mom?

ALLEN IVERSON: I mean, he's my best friend. You know, we've been friends since I was 14 years old. You know, he's always come at me as Allen Iverson the friend instead of Allen Iverson the basketball player. He always kept it real with me like that. He was always there for me when I was down and he's going to be there when I'm on top. But just a best friend, like anybody else in here has somebody that's not their blood, that they are close to and felt like they are blood. That's what he was to me and I know how much he loves his mom and you know, a lot of times I couldn't talk to him. I didn't know what to say to him because I never experienced anything like that. I can never imagine anybody losing their mother. For him to go through it, it was tough for me, but you know, I felt good about myself because I did everything that I could to try to help him get through it. I think he'd love me even more for that.

Q. Can you give us his name?

ALLEN IVERSON: Andre Steel (phonetic).

Q. Can you just talk about LeBron James' play, and a lot of people were calling it as kind of a coming-out party for him and what was it like lining up alongside him in the backcourt?

ALLEN IVERSON: It was good. I played with him on the Olympic team and I watched him on TV all the time. He's a good friend of mine, you know, as well as his mom and the rest of his friends. So, you know a lot of times, instead of me getting hyped about the things that you do on the court, I just feel good about him being able to do it and the feel that he gets from you all guys. I feel good about the things that you people say about him and other people say about him. It's just a great feeling. But, you know, I always let him know that LeBron James right now is on top of the world, you know, but don't ever forget that these same people that put you on top of the world, can put you under, and as long as he realize that, as long as he realize that people with those cameras in his face are not his friends and they are just doing their job, he'll be all right. It's not personal with any of y'all, but because you're doing your job, you've got to make a living but be aware of it and don't get caught up. I thought plenty of times that reporters were my friends and they laughed in my face and smiled in my face, but their first opportunity to knock me down when I made a mistake of my life, they were right there in my front step, and they weren't smiling. So that's the only message that I try to give to LeBron and I hope he never have to go through anything. You know, people talk about the maturity level that he has. Hopefully he did learn from some of the things that went on in my life or other guys' life to where he won't have to make the mistakes that we made.

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