Monday , Nov , 20 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Allen Iverson: Effort? What Effort?

Allen Iverson: Effort?  What Effort?

If anything’s guaranteed to undermine your credibility as a coach, it’s having your star player directly contradict you, and in a way that makes it clear you were spitting misleading half-truths to the media like a senator caught in a brothel. Such was the scenario (the lying, not showing up in a whorehouse) for Coach Cheeks following his post-game interview, as Allen Iverson took his point and treated it with as much respect as Antonio Daniels’ ankles. Cast your eye over some excerpts from this report, and join me in a little game of Spot the Lie.

"I loved our effort…We didn’t win but I thought our effort was big, was huge."

But when asked whether he liked the Sixers’ effort as well, Allen Iverson spit out a "no" as if he had just found something strange in his cheeseburger.

"Look, I’m not trying to be an ass, I promise you," Iverson said in the visiting locker room at Staples Center before getting three stitches in his chin courtesy of an accidental elbow by Corey Maggette on Maggette’s drive to the hoop. "But I don’t care nothing about that."

Could you find the fib? Call me a cynic, but, having watched Philly play a few times this season, I’m more inclined to consider AI’s sentiment the genuine one. After all, with a sub-.500 record and the burden of scoring, passing, initiating the plays, raising morale and tying the starting five’s laces (Iggy’s cool, though; he’s got velcro), you’d be a little irked as well. It’s not surprising, then, that The Answer should have a sardonic response for his coach’s suggestion that a little effort compensates for the fact that the team blows harder than Stan Van Gundy after his “Buns of Steel” workout.

"I don’t care who you’re playing against, if you’re playing a little rec-league team. The effort is supposed to be there every night. So it’s not a big thing for me. To say, ‘Yeah, we gave effort’ or whatever, you’re supposed to give effort. But when you go out and play basketball, you’re supposed to win the basketball game."

“Effort? What you want, a cookie?” I couldn’t help but connect Bubba’s comments with Chris Rock’s famous Bring the Pain diatribe, and I probably wasn’t the only one. If men earning millions of dollars for doing something that I and countless others do for fun are being praised for putting in a little effort, I just don’t know what to say. Perhaps incentivising this squad with cookies and other treats might not be the worst idea. Who knows? Maybe Samuel Dalembert would stop wandering around the paint like he’d just been thrown in a spin dryer then maced if Mo promised to buy him the new bicycle he requested in his letter to Santa.