When Chris Copeland was stabbed and Thabo Sefolosha and Pero Antic arrested outside a New York City club at four in the morning the day of a game, there was a rush to question their judgment. You know the old saying: nothing good ever happens after 2 a.m.
ESPN radio yakker Jorge Sedano was on the NBA Lockdown podcast the other day, and declared that—fluke stabbing aside—NBA players staying out late at clubs is no big deal. (Sedano was correct.) After all, he explained, Allen Iverson once dropped 50 in a nationally televised game just eight hours after Sedano saw him drunk at a South Beach club. The story starts around the 6:30 mark:
And I was at a club and Allen Iverson was at a club. And Allen Iverson was there having a great time. As he should, he’s an adult. And he had a one o’clock game Sunday, and this was the time NBC had the games, a one o’clock Sunday tip on NBC, against the Miami Heat. And I’ll tell you this.
Now the clubs at South Beach close at five in the morning. And it was five in the morning, and let’s just say I saw Allen Iverson not necessarily looking like he had only had glasses of water that night. Which is fair, he is an adult and he can drink whatever he wants to drink, but let’s just say everyone who was walking out at five in the morning, we were all probably not in our best condition at that point. And he went out the next day, one o’clock tip, and scored 50 on the Heat.
This is the perfect Allen Iverson story, right? While Michael Jordan is struggling through the flu to score 38 points in the NBA Finals, Iverson is crossing fools over for 50 with more Grey Goose than Gatorade in his system. And the story is totally believable too. Iverson’s problems with alcohol are well-documented, and in a Sports Illustrated story published today, Matt Barnes claimed that Iverson used to spend $30,000 or $40,000 each time they went out to a strip club.
Except, in this case, the story as Jorge Sedano tells it couldn’t have happened. We checked: Allen Iverson never played a Sunday game in Miami, Allen Iverson never played on national TV in Miami, and Allen Iverson never scored 50 points in Miami, let alone all at the same time. So what’s going on here? We asked Sedano:
Basically, I got some specifics and details wrong. I was trying to recall a story from approximately 15 yrs ago. The context and real focus of the podcast discussion was about Pacers/Hawks club incident. My position was that people need to stop victim blaming Copeland. Athletes go out all the time and no one hears about it. They still go out and perform on the court and on the field. Some perform really well.
The annoying part about messing up an “Allen Iverson went hard at the club and then went off” story is that there must be a hundred accurate ones out there. That’s like telling a Michael Jordan trash-talking story that turns out to be off! This isn’t high journalistic malpractice, by any means—Sedano easily might have conflated multiple stories, or convinced himself that he was present for something he’d only heard about—but there are plenty of good and true examples of why we shouldn’t get worked up over NBA players staying out late. Like: every night we don’t hear about it.
Update: On today’s episode of the NBA Lockdown podcast, Jorge Sedano apologized for getting the “specifics and details” of his Allen Iverson club story wrong. You can hear audio of it below:
H/t Brandon; Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images