Co-host of ESPN2’s “First Take” Stephen A. Smith responded on Friday to newly published book “Not A Game: The Incredible Rise and Unthinkable Fall of Allen Iverson” by Kent Babb, which states that before Allen Iverson’s infamous rant about practice that the former NBA star had been drinking.
Smith, who claims to know Iverson better than anybody, got off the phone with him right before Friday’s show and claimed that Babb’s claims are a “a flat out lie.”
“I’ve known Allen Iverson for 19 years. Allen Iverson and I speak every week. We spoke this morning for 45 minutes. I might know a thing or two about basketball. I might know a thing or two about a lot of things. I know a hell of a lot more about Allen Iverson and I challenge any journalist in America to tell you they know him better than I do. This is a flat out lie. Allen Iverson was not drunk the day he had that press conference about practice.”
Breitbart reached out to author Kent Babb for a response, which was:
Smith is close to Iverson, which he mentioned, so it’s not a surprise he’s defending his friend. But while I wasn’t there during the “practice” news conference, I certainly spoke to many, many people who were — and I trust their opinions. Honestly, the belief that Iverson had a buzz going that day was fairly universal among Sixers reporters. If Stephen truly believes what he said this morning, he’s certainly one of the few in and around the organization who think that way.
Regardless, I do wish Stephen would’ve shared his thoughts with me directly instead of declining my interview request for the book last July.
This is not the first time Smith has defended a pro athlete for his transgressions. He stood up for good friend and domestic abuser Floyd Mayweather Jr. and told those against Mayweather because of his history to “grow up.”
Follow Trent Baker on Twitter @MagnifiTrent