The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir on the valiant efforts of ESPN’s Jim Gray to solicit a quote from the embattled Allen Iverson.

A woman answered and told him to call back. When he called again, a man answered, who greeted Gray as if he knew him. The voice sounded like Iverson™s, Gray said. His vocal rhythms were similar.

œI thought I was talking to him, Gray said.

Gray said that he was told that Iverson did not mind being sat down as a trade was arranged, œbut he said it wasn™t his decision.

Gray said, œHe told me he wanted to retire a Sixer, and I said, ˜Can this be retrieved?™ and he said, ˜I don™t know, but my time might be up and it might be best for all.™

œI said, ˜Where do you want to go?™ and he said, ˜I hope this deal with Minnesota works out.™ I wanted to know where the deal stood, whether it was, or was it just what he wanted, but we got disconnected.

Gray called Leon Rose, Iverson™s agent, but their conversation was cut off. Gray called back and left a message saying he had spoken to Iverson.

Gray delivered his report during the first half of the game, and again at halftime, conveying what œIverson had told him, including the Minnesota angle.

After halftime, Rose called Gray™s cellphone. Gray said that Rose told him: œI spoke to Allen, and Allen swears he didn™t speak to you. We™re going to have to come out and say your report was inaccurate.

Stunned, Gray asked to talk to Iverson, but Rose said he was not speaking. Gray called Gary Moore, Iverson™s business manager. Gray said that Moore told him: œAllen™s really hot. You didn™t speak to him.

Gray said that in the past people had complained that they did not say exactly what he had reported, but never to deny speaking to him at all.

œI feel badly, he said last night, œbut I don™t feel like I did anything wrong.