AFTER MORE than 10 extraordinary seasons in Philadelphia—his gutsy, MVP-worthy performances unfolding against the backdrop of his numerous clashes with authority—Allen Iverson is aiming to lead the Nuggets to their first postseason series win in 13 years. At 31, the almost waifish guard with the third-highest career scoring average (27.9) in NBA history is sharing the spotlight with Denver's young star, Carmelo Anthony, and, three months after the trade that shook the NBA, finding peace.
On mentoring Carmelo Anthony
I don't want to do that. I just want to be his teammate and friend. I didn't come here feeling like we are going to sit down after practice and have class. I didn't want to be his teacher. He's a grown man, and if he makes mistakes, it's up to him to learn from them. And I'm pretty sure he has people that love him who can help with stuff off the court. I hope he feels the same way about me.
On being the team leader
I feel I'm the leader because of what I have done in the league and the things I have seen. I try to lead by example, but I'm more vocal than I used to be. A young team needs that. Guys know the wars I have been through and respect my opinion on things.
On his biggest problem with the 76ers
The losing. And I didn't feel like after all those years that [the front office] cared about my opinion on how we could win. I earned that after playing with broken bones, separated shoulders, giving it my all every night. I wish the trade would have happened at the start of the season. I see those guys on TV, and I miss my teammates but not the situation.
On his future in Denver
After being in Philly so long and not believing I would ever leave, the day I became a Nugget, I felt this was where I wanted to finish my career. All I see are positive things. I had a conversation with my kids [he has four in Colorado], and they said they love their school, love their classmates. Everything here seems so good.
On whether his passion for basketball is the same as it was 10 years ago
Hell, yeah, even more. When you come into the league, you feel like you are going to win a championship. I would have thought I would have won three or four by now. But I haven't, and that makes me hungrier every game.
On how much longer he'll play
Until I can't be Allen Iverson on the court, until I can't dominate. When you look at the scouting report and my name is not the first name, you have to stop; then it's time to go. I don't want to be an old guy sitting on the bench for a championship team. I'm not coming off nobody's bench.
On his lifestyle in Denver
Honestly I just sit in the house, watch TV with my kids. I have a couple of buddies from home here, and sometimes we go shoot pool. I'm going to buy a house this summer, but that's my wife [Tawanna]'s thing. I want to stay where I'm at in a loft across the street. I can throw a rock and hit the arena. We have practice at 11, I can leave at 10:45 and be on time. Perfect. My wife ain't having it, though. She wants a bigger place, somewhere she can go on one side and leave me on the other. I drive her crazy.
PHOTOGRAPH BY MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY
JEFF LEWIS/ICON SMI (IVERSON ACTION)