ESPN: Former casino dealer tells Allen Iverson horror story
if it's already been posted, then it's just been posted again
I thought I got my reprieve when my reputation earned me a special a.ssignment from Richard, my pit boss. I was to deal Three Card Poker to Allen Iverson and his family.
Boy was I ever wrong.
The first thing you notice about Allen Iverson in person is his impressive size. On the basketball court, he appears so small, but that is an illusion. Iverson is listed as being an even six feet tall, and perhaps that's generous. But if you took the press guide at its word, this still made him the shortest member of the Philadelphia 76ers by a good four inches. Considering that there were many NBA players at the time who were seven feet or taller, Iverson was frequently dwarfed on the basketball court by men over a foot taller than he.
Sitting at the Three Card Poker table, however, he was a sight to behold. His hair was pulled back in his trademark cornrows, with a sideways baseball cap atop his head. Even wearing baggy sweats, you could see how chiseled his physique was. Make no mistake, this was a professional athlete. And after a brief chat with the casino host, who was there to cater to his every whim, he was ready to gamble. Before too long he was doing so with such gusto that I feared for my safety.
"Gimme my [expletive] money!"
His fist pounded down on the table with such force that I recoiled as though I myself had been struck by the blow. He rose from his chair, and his voice grew louder still, the alcohol on his breath just as capable of choking me to death even if his hands remained at his sides, which of course they did not.
"That's right! Gimme my [expletive] money!"
Again he pounded the table. An evil, self-satisfied chuckle sprung from his lips as I very carefully placed the $600 in question in front of him.
"Deal the cards, [expletive]! Let's go. Don't stop now. I'm on a roll!"
I finished collecting the cards from the table and placed them in the Shuffle Master automatic shuffling machine, then proceeded to dole out the cards for the next round of play. Allen Iverson rubbed his hands together in gleeful anticipation.
"Here we go!"
As the day wore on, I watched as AI imbibed a nonstop succession of Heineken and Hennessey, one following right after the other. He never once tipped any of the waitresses, and not a single one of them would return to serve him for a second time, due to the abusive language hurled in their direction by the table. And mind you, the other players at the table were members of Iverson's family! From right to left, there was his uncle George, a nameless pair of cousins, and then Iverson's mother herself seated next to him the whole time (but her baby could do no wrong in her eyes). She just sat there, massaging both the shoulder and knee that had been causing Iverson so much pain that he was unable to join the 76ers on their current road trip to the West Coast, which was why he was able to be at an Atlantic City casino in the midst of the NBA regular season.
As Iverson got noticeably drunker and drunker, he started to slur his speech. He also seemed to regress more and more into a childlike state. It was all I could do to keep from vomiting a little in my mouth as I listened to the following exchange between mother and son.
"How on earth did you get so lucky to have given birth to a man such as me?"
"I am blessed."
"You are blessed."
Now certainly, after several hours of playing, news that a celebrity of Allen Iverson's stature was playing at this particular table had spread throughout the casino. It was bound to have happened. Iverson certainly had come prepared, as he had three guys standing behind the table, making sure that nobody dared approach him for an autograph. And if somebody simply wanted to be a spectator to a few hands, and stood for just a little too long, they, shall we say, "politely requested" that they move it along.
Of course, I say three guys because the same three guys were standing there for around five hours. As it turns out, guy number 3 wasn't part of the entourage. And for whatever reason, despite his having stood there watching pretty much since Iverson sat down at the table, and having not once opened his mouth to utter a single sound, his presence suddenly infuriated Iverson.
"What you looking at? What the [expletive] you looking at, [expletive]?"
Suddenly, Iverson rose to his feet and approached guy number 3 and got as close to him as humanly possible without actually making contact. A staredown ensued, and you just knew the slightest spark would send this powder keg sky high.
.......to be fair to Allen Iverson, less than a year after my encounter with him in Atlantic City, he was honored by the NBA with their Community a.ssist Award for his work with Boys & Girls Clubs, as well as the Make-a-Wish Foundation, and several other charities that he supports year-round. If that was the only experience I had with Iverson, perhaps the glasses through which I view him as a person would be far more rose colored, but my evaluation of him for fantasy purposes would not change a bit.
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http://espn.go.com/espn/p .. -world-excerpt
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Last edited by Dee Grande; 08-02-2011 at 07:43 PM..