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Richard Hamilton sticks ups for Allen Iverson, bashes Michael Curry

From The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal (Hat tip: Henry Abbott of TrueHoop):

“M.C. lied to us a million times,” Hamilton said of Curry. “He sat me and A.I. down one time and was like, ‘I’m going to lean on both of you the whole year, just don’t go to the media. Say you’ll do whatever for the team and blah blah blah.’ This was a week before he brought me off the bench. He lied. So I feel for what Allen said.”

He added: “I think the person that we had didn’t know how to take advantage of (our roster). Instead of taking advantage of it, he killed it.”

Hamilton also discredited the idea that the Pistons, although upset about losing Chauncey Billups in the trade with the Nuggets, were unwilling to accept Iverson as a teammate. Asked if he ever had any problems with Iverson, Hamilton said: “Oh, no, no, no. We loved him, he loved us. We were all friends, we were all brothers. Like I said, certain people make it complicated when it shouldn’t be complicated.”

I buy that Curry screwed this up. He clearly messed up things we could see (lineups, schemes, etc.). It’s hard to give him the benefit of the doubt on this.

I’m selling that everything was cool between Iverson and everyone else. It was too obvious that the Pistons played harder when Hamilton was on the court than when Iverson was.

Maybe the players’ wanted to embrace Iverson. But, from the outside looking in, it appeared they resented him deep down – maybe for taking Hamilton’s spot, maybe for hogging the ball, maybe for not playing team defense, maybe for garnering so much attention, maybe a combination of those things. I don’t pretend to know.

But Iverson hasn’t stuck in Philadelphia, Denver or Detroit – and I don’t think things will work out in Memphis. He reminds me of his old coach, friend and nemesis, Larry Brown. Curry didn’t help make the Iverson-as-a-Piston experiment work, but like Brown, maybe Iverson still can’t find what makes him happy.

Enough amateur psychology for now. Abbott linked this fantastic 2001 Sports Illustrated piece on Iverson. If Iverson intrigues you nearly as much as he does me, this is a must-read.

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