Gary Payton Is Taking Credit for Allen Iverson's Practice Rant (With a Guest Appearance from Donovan McNabb!)

Gary Payton Is Taking Credit for Allen Iverson's Practice Rant (With a Guest Appearance from Donovan McNabb!)

There are three things I know by heart and will be able to recite for the rest of my life: A Hail Mary, Al Pacino's speech from Any Given Sunday, and Allen Iverson's "We Talkin' 'Bout Practice" tirade.

That quote and video clip has been used and re-used for so long that soon enough there's going to be an entire generation of kids going "We talkin' 'bout practice," only they'll have no idea who said it or where it came from. It's part of the lexicon.

I'm not going to name names, but there were guys in the Eagles' locker room on Tuesday, joking with each other and yelling, "We not talkin' 'bout the game, the actual game, we talkin' 'bout practice." It translates to, you know, actual athletes.

In a situation like this, it's pretty rare to find out any new information about how or why something happened a good 11 years later. But today is that day.

The Glove, Gary Payton, is now claiming he's the one actually responsible for Iverson's outburst.

Payton, appearing on the newly-launched Fox Sports 1, praised Iverson at length upon hearing news of the Answer's impending retirement. He said the biggest concern when guarding Iverson was simply to avoid having his ankles broken.

But then he said something I had never before. Transcribed by ProBasketballTalk:

“We were out somewhere during a summer, and we were all out having a good time, and we had a little bit too many… and he asked me, he said ‘how do you keep your body is so good of a shape, and don’t get hurt, and stay always on the court?’ And I just told him for real, my coach George Karl didn’t let me practice. So that was it. I said ‘You have to stop practicing.’”

Then after the legendary Iverson practice rant press conference?

“Oh no not this, don’t say it like that! Don’t say it like that Allen!”

This apparently led to a later interaction between Payton and Larry Brown when Brown approached Payton, telling him to "Look at what [he] created."

As promised in the headline, Donovan McNabb is also on the panel and speaks well of his interactions with Iverson when the two of them were atop the Philadelphia sports world.

Glovely:

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Getting over gut-punch loss of Chris Maragos no easy task for Eagles

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Getting over gut-punch loss of Chris Maragos no easy task for Eagles

It was late last Thursday night in Charlotte, well after the celebrating in the locker room subsided and well after most of his teammates had already gotten on the bus to take them to the airport. 

Eagles special teams captain Chris Maragos, with a heavy brace on his right leg, emerged from the visitors' locker room and limped through the cement bowels of Bank of America Stadium. The pissed off look plastered on his face as he left the field after injuring his right knee in the fourth quarter had given way to a look of resignation. He knew. 

Maragos was officially placed on Injured Reserve on Thursday, which means the Eagles will have to continue what they hope will be a magical season without one of their unquestioned leaders. 

"It was rough, man," said fellow special teamer Najee Goode, who collided with Maragos on the play that injured him. "That's my dawg. Chris is a beast. He brings a lot of energy to special teams. But we're going to replace him. He's still going to be there, making sure we do what we need to do." 

If any team is prepared to get over the loss of a player like Maragos it might be these Eagles. They've already survived — thrived, really — after losing Darren Sproles, Ronald Darby, Rodney McLeod, Fletcher Cox, Jordan Hicks, Lane Johnson and Wendell Smallwood for varying lengths of time. 

But like when they lost Sproles for the season, the Eagles are going to miss more than just Maragos' on-field play. He's also the captain of Dave Fipp's excellent special teams group. Maragos, one of five captains on the team, said at the time he was voted a captain that it meant more to him than any other accomplishment in his career. 

And that's saying a lot. Maragos' story is pretty amazing. He was originally a wide receiver in college until then-Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema saw Maragos track down a DB after an interception and moved him to defense on the spot. Eventually, Maragos worked his way into the NFL as an undrafted free agent and eventually won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks before coming to Philly. 

Early in his time with the Birds, Maragos actually played a significant role on defense. But when the new coaching staff arrived, it was clear his role would be on special teams, so he threw himself back into it. And he's been incredible. 

Last November, Maragos signed a three-year, $6 million extension that goes through the 2019 season and was already off to a good start in 2017. He led the Eagles in special teams snaps with 126 (74 percent) and was tied for the team lead in special teams tackles with six. 

How the heck do you replace that? 

"I don't think you'll ever be able to fill Chris' role," tight end and special teamer Trey Burton said. "He plays such a big role on special teams. He was able to do so much, but we're going to have to do something. Everybody's going to have to step up."

Head coach Doug Pederson said it will be "tough" to replace Maragos, but the team will probably do it with a committee approach at first. That means more Corey Graham and Jaylen Watkins. Even recently signed draft pick Nate Gerry will have a role if he's active. 

Perhaps the bigger loss will be Maragos' leadership. He's one of just five players on the team who has won a Super Bowl and he's always happy to answer any questions his teammates have — about football or life. 

In his absence, Goode said he and Burton will attempt to fulfill that leadership void as much as possible. 

"It's really tough," Burton said. "That's my best friend. Him not being here, being around as much. It's tough for him too because he's out of the loop on things and doesn't really know. He would love to be here and in meetings and stuff but he's not going to be able to."

While Maragos won't be around for a while, Burton expects him to visit more once he's healed more. And he'll certainly be watching. 

"Heart's heavy, but I lift my eyes," Maragos tweeted on Thursday. "I'll miss being out there with my brothers but I promise you this, I'll be back stronger!"

That's good news for 2018 but the Eagles will have to go the rest of the season without him. Maragos apparently had a message for his teammates. 

"He knows injuries happen," Goode said. "We play full speed and that's something that comes with the game. His whole thing — Chris is a great team dude — was that we keep propelling and keep getting better for the future."