Allen Iverson, sporting a new hairstyle reminiscent of his days at Georgetown, was sitting around one of those NBA all-star weekend media sessions when he was asked by a reporter about whether he thought some of the NBA charity events — reading books to kids, handing out Thanksgiving turkeys — were a bit staged.
“Fake,” said the 10-time all-star who plays for the Detroit Pistons.
Iverson went on to say that he prefers the cameras not be around when he helps others less fortunate than him.
“I just look forward to doing it. I don’t need all the publicity that comes with it. I don’t need that. When it’s time for me to get toward that gate, either He [is] gonna say, ‘Come in,’ or He [is] gonna say, ‘Turn around.’ And a camera won’t decide whether I get in or not.”
Rather than ignoring the obvious religious comment by Iverson, reporters pressed him on it. Someone asked if Iverson thought he was going to heaven or hell.
“I’ve done a lot of good things in my life and done a lot of bad things in my life so I don’t know. I hope the good things outweigh the bad things. I’m damn sure I don’t want to go to hell.”
Iverson was then asked if he was troubled by not knowing where he stood.
“I’m not saying that I’m not in, because I think I am. Unless some things go dramatically wrong in the next how many years, I think I’ll be welcomed through those gates.”
The discussion turned to how sports can be an escape from the troubles of everyday life and whether NBA players and other professional athletes should be viewed as role models.
“We have more impact on the world than people may think, than even we might think, you know what I mean? When I was younger, when we talk about role model-type situations, I never knew that we were important like we are.
“We are role models, regardless if we like it or not. It is something that we got to accept, but it is something that people should know that we’re human and we make mistakes and we are not going to be perfect. You can want to be like Allen Iverson, but I don’t think people should try to be like Allen Iverson. I think people should be better than Allen Iverson.”