Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Stephon Marbury Throws Rocks at Cars

When I was a kid, it was hard for my parents to get a hold on me. In pre-school, aside from the daily notes home, Mrs. Shames told my mother that I was a ring leader, nothing but a future criminal (true story). Harsh, I know-- apparently those graham cracker deals behind the jungle gym weren't as secretive as I thought.
In kindergarten, my mother warned Mrs. Shulace of my prior transgressions, but aside from the cowboys and indians beating that I put on Gabe Levine, there was seldom a peep of misbehavior coming from my direction.
Swerving in and out of "behavioral traffic lanes" more sporadically than Jaba Chamberlain on the Nebraska Expressway after a fifth of Whiskey, I reverted back to my class-clown ways just in time to subject my first-grade teacher, Mrs. Sattan (who I aptly dubbed Mrs. Satan, even in first grade), to a year-long miscellaneous cast of ridiculous antics and juvenile wrong doing (my apologies to anyone who I scarred in the past that may be reading this-- See Billy Madison). How is it that I went from being a criminal at six years old, to Mr. Goody-Two-Shoe at seven, back to the classroom terror by eight? The answer is tact.
I may have been a mere tike, but I was tactful, more cautious than a butcher at a bris when it came to my criminal misadventures. I was aware that while three consecutive years of Broad Street bullying might land me in some type of diaper detention center, sporadic stints of angelic activity would, if nothing else, confuse my parents. So despite my inner Axl Rose, the voice that told me to throw a rock at a car while waiting for the morning bus to come, and the same voice that told me to threaten my first-grade classmates with a tiny screw--one that I found in the Livingston Park Elementary School gymnasium--in order to get what I wanted (damn you Jesse Leiter for diming me out. You wouldn't last a day on Hidden Lake Drive) my parents were under the impression that I was a tolerable kid.
If only exiled New York Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury had half the tact that I had at age six, maybe a couple of us Knick fans would line with him in the Starbury-D'antoni soap opera. Instead, Steph has become New York City's own Darth Vader. Think about it-- both Steph and Darth look like aliens, they both provide cheap labor (Marbury's sneaker company, Darth's stormtroopers) and both have a propensity for sexual harassment (Natalie Portman is to Darth Vader what Kathleen Decker, the former Blue and Orange intern, is to Stephon Marbury--I swear I'm not a Star Wars nerd). The point is, while I had the good sense to keep nay-sayers guessing with occasional classroom serenity, Marbury continues to prove haters right, city after city.
Marbury was drafted fourth overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1996 NBA draft, then traded promptly to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the draft rights to Ray Allen and a future first-round pick. As a result of MARBURY's inability to coexist with former teammate (reigning NBA Champion, 2004 Most Valuable Player and consummate team player) Kevin Garnett, in addition to a major discrepancy with former Wolves Head Coach (one of the most respected coaches in the league) Flip Suanders, Marbury demanded a trade during the 1999 lock-out season. For argument's sake, we'll call Marbury's tenure with the Timberwolves his pre-school days.
As a result of his misbehavior in Minnesota, the disgruntled point guard was shipped to the New Jersey Nets in a deal that sent Terrell Brandon to Minnesota from Milwaukee, and Sam Cassell to Milwaukee from New Jersey. In three seasons, Marbury's Nets never once made it to the playoffs, and in 2001, after ongoing disputes with teammates and New Jersey management, the point guard was sent to the Pheonix Suns for Jason Kidd. (It should be noted that in 2002, Kidd's first year as Marbury's back court replacement, the Nets were transformed from perennial doormats to playoff contenders). Coincidence?
After teaming with Pheonix's Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion to make a playoff push in the 2003 season, Marbury's suns fell to the San Antonio Spurs in the first round (note that a Stephon Marbury team has never managed to make it to the second round of the NBA playoffs). An inauspicious beginning to the 2004 season caused trouble in the locker room (a locker room that, as coach, D'antoni was part of) and Starbury was a catalyst for much of the drama. On January 5, 2004, Steph was shipped to New York in return for the inured Antonio McDyess and long-time Knicks point guard Charlie Ward.
Thus began Marbury's first-grade stint, a stint that the recently exiled point guard seems to be very fond of, as he never seemed to graduate. The Brooklyn native's homecoming, masterminded by a pill-popping Isiah Thomas, was expected to result in Samuel Adams-eqsue heroics. Instead, Starbury has just driven us Knick fans to a life-long dependency on Samuel Adams Lager.
Marbury's problems with the cast of New York coaches and teammates have been the center of a media circus since his arrival. What started as one of the most well-documented clashes in New York sports history (Stephon Marbury vs Larry Brown), has become nothing less than a trend, giving Knick fans little choice but to side against the point guard. Remember how the Marbury-Brown squabble made Don Vito Corleone vs Virgil Sollozzo look more like N'Sync vs The Backstreet Boys? Once again, it goes back to tact-- if Marbury had the good sense to get along with at least one of his coaches, perhaps some of us fans would support the sneaker tycoon .
Instead, what started with Brown, continued through his struggles with Isiah Thomas (most heavily publicized when Steph deserted his team after learning on the team plane that his starting job had been revoked), Mike D'antoni, Donnie Walsh, Quentin Richardson, Kurt Thomas (Mr. Knick himself), and a host of other Knicks. How could it be any body's fault but Marbury's when he has proved his inability to coexist with other members of the locker room time and again throughout his career. The current saga is just another dirty sock in the laundry list full of Marbury-mishaps.
So for any Knick fans in support of Marbury in the most recent New York soap opera (I hear there are a few. I couldn't believe my ears when I heard, "we want Steph" coming from the stands on opening night at the Garden), look back on his past inability to get along with some of the most well-respected coaches and players in NBA history, all who brought a different style of leadership to the team (while Brown was a hard-nosed manager, D'antoni is the ultimate player's coach). Can you really chalk this one up to anybody but Starbury? The man has spent his entire Knick career throwing rocks at cars-- this is nothing new for the tactless guard.
What do you think Knick fans?


Justin said...

Wow, and Mrs. Shames was right you criminal... you have stolen the hearts of NY sports fans.

Jon Corzine said...

"You know, from what I hear, dogfighting is a sport." - Knicks guard Stephon Marbury

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