We’re talking about … Taco Bell?
Who among us hasn’t made the late-night voyage to Taco Bell for a glorious, after-hours crunch-wrap with a full bag of Fire Sauce packets (anyone who asks for “Mild” should be ashamed of themselves)? Everyone whose lived through college has a Taco Bell story or two, but Allen Iverson may have us all beat. During his playing career, the Sixers point guard was apparently so enamored with the popular fast-food chain that he once left practice to binge on some choice burritos.
Author Larry Platt shared the anecdote Wednesday in The Athletic’s oral history of Iverson’s iconic “practice” rant. “There’s also a moment where he disappears from practice because his guy Gary Moore had Taco Bell outside in the little hallway, which was at St. Joe’s (where the Sixers practiced),” recalls Platt, who profiled A.I. in his book, Only the Strong Survive: The Odyssey of Allen Iverson. “Allen goes out, downs a few burritos and then comes running back in and rejoins the scrimmage.”
We’ve seen athletes snack during games before—Mark Sanchez once devoured a sideline hot dog while playing for the Jets—but leaving in the middle of practice to secure a coveted batch of Taco Bell burritos? That’s a new one.
While Iverson was well-known for blowing off practice, former 76ers sideline reporter Dei Lynam said A.I. was a fixture at NBA “Fan Day” events … mostly because it was a chance for him to score Taco Bell. “You know the food that he loved to eat? Taco Bell,” remembers Lynam. “There was a reason we took him there when they would do the “Fan Day” (events), where they would stick players in different parts of the city.”
Iverson’s Taco Bell habit couldn’t have been healthy, but luckily the empty calories never hurt his on-court performance. His 19,931 points as a 76er are the second-most in franchise history behind fellow Hall-of-Famer Hal Greer.
Iverson isn’t the only Sixer with a taste for fast food. All-Star center Joel Embiid’s affinity for Chik-fil-A is well-documented while Charles Barkley claims he and veteran teammates including Moses Malone and Julius Erving would often munch McDonald’s while riding stationary bikes at practice. Hey, a man’s gotta’ eat.