It’s quite a ways into “Allen Iverson : Fallen Star” before Philadelphia Magazine’s Robert Huber actually speaks with the subject of the article ; prior to that, he recaps the ups and downs of A.I.’s personal and professional lives, not without essentially calling the former NBA superstar a gambling degenerate, a hopeless pussy hound and worst of all, a guy who willingly hangs out at TGI Friday’s. Even in America! When he finally wins Iverson’s confidence — after, we should stress, an enthusiastic Besiktas PRACTICE — Huber writes, “I™m talking to somebody I don™t recognize: a 35-year-old man, calm and measured.”

I kid him about going to Friday™s in Istanbul, though he doesn™t seem to see it as teasing:

œMan, listen, he says. œI didn™t know that the Philly cheesesteak wrap was that good when I was in Philly. I tried them when I got out here and every day since then. Every day since then!

On whether he is broke ” a guy who has pocketed some $200 million in salary and endorsements over the past 15 years. It would emerge a week or so later that Iverson- is selling some of his collected memorabilia on eBay, and a lot of people are saying he™s gambled and partied and supported hangers-on to the point of going through all that cash. But Iverson laughs softly, high up in the Besiktas stands:

œI would be a damn fool to blow that much money and have five kids to take care of. One thing I do have, and I can say, is that I do have money. A lot.

I ask Iverson if he has a gambling problem. From his days with the Sixers, there are myriad stories of him dropping big money in A.C. at the Taj and Bally™s, getting drunk and being rude to dealers. The stories smack of him throwing his money around recklessly, even dangerously.

œYou find out when dealing with people that doesn™t have nowhere near as much money as you, Iverson says, œthat a lot of people who don™t have that money and can™t fathom it, would never understand. If I had that much to lose and I know it, then it™s not a problem for me.

How about drinking? œEverybody I know, damn near, drinks. How is it a problem for me? I don™t remember getting any DUIs or going to jail for getting drunk in public. Iverson laughs, because, really, are we talking about drinking? œI™ve never been reprimanded or anything, with any team or anything like that, because of any drinking.