Monday, November 19, 2007

Stephon Marbury: Time to move on?

A lot has transpired over the past couple of days in the wake of the Stephon Marbury "excused absence" saga. Below are a couple of in depth articles that I've come across that may pique your interest continuing Stephon Marbury-Isiah Thomas soap opera.

Newsday columnist Barbara Barker wrote:

"After NBA stops in Minnesota, New Jersey and Phoenix -- was supposed to signal a new era at the Garden. Made just a month after Thomas took over the team, the trade was hailed as brilliant by nearly every columnist in New York. Marbury was seen as the guy who could carry the Knicks back to prominence.

With Thomas acting as his mentor, some even believed that Marbury could deliver Knicks fans that NBA championship that had eluded them during the Ewing era. Well, the Ewing era is looking pretty good right now. In fact, even the Don Chaney era is preferable to the mess the current team finds itself in.

Since Marbury came aboard, the Knicks have not won a playoff game but have had four different coaches. And they soon could have a fifth; they are in the midst of one of the worst road trips in the history of the NBA.

Think things can't get worse? Just wait until the Knicks play their first home game in nine days Tuesday against Golden State. The Knicks' public address announcer already has taken to announcing Thomas and his assistant coaches in rapid-fire succession in order to avoid a prolonged boo-fest during a pause after Thomas' name. One theory about Marbury's benching is that owner James Dolan ordered it so Marbury won't face a negative reaction when he is introduced.

"It's depressing to go there," one former Knick said of the Garden. "There's empty seats, and the people that are there aren't happy. It's embarrassing."

As ugly as the situation has gotten, Marbury said before Friday's game that he still considers the Garden his home. "I love New York. I've loved New York when I played with other teams. I'm happy to be here," he said. "I love the fans. I love playing in Madison Square Garden."

Queens Basketball guru Rob Johnson believes the problem is that Marbury is surrounded by an entourage of people who are afraid to challenge him. "Everyone around him is yessing him to death," he said. "No one tells him what he needs to hear."

Until recently, everyone who challenged Marbury -- from teammates to former coach Larry Brown to Anucha Browne Sanders -- found themselves on the outs at Madison Square Garden. And it is that sense of entitlement -- revealed during his testimony at the Browne Sanders trial about having extramarital sex in his truck with a Garden intern -- that ultimately could derail Marbury's New York dream.

Heading into the summer, it looked as though Marbury might turn things around. He was coming off his best season as a Knick and was being heralded by everyone from Oprah to BusinessWeek for the success of his $15 sneaker. But then came the testimony about the tryst in the truck, which was compounded by the fact he left the courtroom smiling and singing to himself.

"That just killed him," one longtime agent said. "The same mothers who were out there buying his shoes aren't going to like the fact he's married and having sex in a parking lot. If I were his agent, I would have gone to the Garden and offered to pay part of a settlement just to keep it out of court."

And now Marbury might be in a mess that no one can buy his way out of, not even deep-pockets Dolan. The Garden, once the only place Marbury ever wanted to be, might be a place he ultimately has to leave.

TNT Analyst and former NBA All-Star Charles Wade Barkley added:

"Stephon Marbury is wrong," said Charles Barkley on TNT. "I like Isiah Thomas, I've been a big defender of his, but Stephon Marbury's track record speaks for itself. If you can't be happy playing with Kevin Garnett, you're never going to be happy. Isiah Thomas made a huge mistake bringing Stephon Marbury to the Knicks, thinking he could change him. Stephon Marbury is who he is."

"Stephon Marbury is one of those guys that when he came to the NBA we said, ‘That guy is going to be a great player, one day, when he gets it,'" he added. "And then five years later you say, ‘He ain't getting it yet. He's never going to get it.' Stephon Marbury is a very talented basketball player who's never going to get it. He's going to do it his way, which is the wrong way. You'd think a guy who has been on four teams would think, ‘I did it my way, but
it ain't working,' and he would change. But Stephon Marbury is not going to change."

Somehow. Someway. Those $15 dollar Starbury's are no longer as enticing as they once were...

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