The Philadelphia 76ers haven’t made positive headlines for their play lately. In fact, the Sixers got far more attention for Doug Collins’ postgame rant on Feb. 26, as he challenged his team’s lack of effort. In fact, it may be the Sixers’ most famous press conference since Allen Iverson defended his lack of effort in practice a decade ago.
Despite Iverson’s accomplishments with the Sixers, his most infamous moment in Philadelphia was his “We’re talking about practice” speech on May 7, 2002. After the then-defending Eastern Conference champion Sixers lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Boston Celtics, Iverson was asked about his lackadaisical approach to practice.
Iverson derided that question by repeating over and over how “we’re talking about practice” instead of the game. It stuck to him for the rest of his career, which began to go downhill right after 2002. He and the Sixers had reached the peak of their potential together by then, whether he practiced or not.
While that press conference was the beginning of the end for Iverson, the modern-day Sixers must hope that the same can’t be said of Collins right now. His postgame comments on Feb. 26 weren’t on Iverson’s level, especially since he ranted against a lack of effort rather than defending it.
But whereas Iverson rarely put focus into practice, today’s Sixers are rarely putting effort into actual games these days. Collins finally called them out on it after their humiliating loss to the Orlando Magic on Feb. 26, which dropped them further down the playoff standings.
Iverson delivered his famous rant after the end of the 2001-02 season. Collins’ Sixers still have 25 games left in the 2012-13 season, but it appears over for all intents and purposes. The loss to the Magic, as well as the postgame attack from Collins, certainly seemed to back that up.
Unless the Sixers make a massive rally in the next several weeks, or collapse so completely that Collins gets fired or steps down, no one will remember his ramblings in 11 years like they remember Iverson’s. Still, Collins has earned his place in Sixers’ postgame infamy, although that wasn’t supposed to be his biggest accomplishment this season.