Monday, March 27, 2006

Baby, I'm a Star


Stephon Marbury is talking today about how much he'd love to play with Kevin Garnett. He pines for the days when he and Garnett were supposed to be the second coming of Stockton and Malone. Here's what he had to say about playing with Garnett again:

"In New York, that would be great. Playing back with Kevin, that would be something, that would be talked about forever. I think for the NBA it would be great also. Because you get to have two guys reunited from when they were younger, when they were predicted to be [John] Stockton and [Karl] Malone."

That's really amusing that he would long for his days with Garnett because, if memory serves correctly, he was the one who forced a trade out of Minnesota because he didn't want to play second fiddle to anybody. The strange thing is that Garnett seems to have amnesia about his time with the self proclaimed "Starbury" as well. While they did make the playoff in the two years that they were together, it was clear that Marbury was never going to sacrifice his offensive goals for the good of the team. Garnett had this to say about playing with Marbury:

"You need two guys to connect. The chemistry Steph and I shared basketball-wise is one I shared with Spree (Latrell Sprewell) and Sam Mitchell. I don't think he made that connection with anyone else. I sacrificed. He sacrificed. We made it work."

Marbury never sacrificed for Garnett. Garnett, on the other hand, is the consumate team player. He can do practically anything he wants on the court. He has never hogged the ball, (even though it's clear that he's the best offensive weapon that his team possess), he works hard on the boards (which practically defines effort), and he works hard on the defensive end of the floor. Garnett has always demanded so much more out of himself than he has his teammates. Would he be willing to put up with the indifferent defensive performance that Marbury gives every night? Would he put up with Marbury firing up 20 shots a night? Would he sit quietly as Marbury starts to criticize him in the press? I don't think so.

I'm not sure who he thinks Marbury is, but he's certainly not Jason Kidd. Marbury proclaimed himself the "best point guard" in the league last year and in his own mind, I think that he truly believes that. His reward doesn't come in wins; it comes in the form of his paycheck and his individual stats. In his mind the role of a point guard is not to run the team, but to be the star of the team. He wants the ball in his hands all the time. He doesn't trust his teammates and his teammates don't trust him. It sounds like a match made in hell. Larry Brown was able to get the most out of Alan Iverson, who was supposed to be impossible to control, but in Marbury he has clearly met his match. Marbury doesn't listen to anyone, because listening or trying to conform to the wishes of someone else would somehow diminish his star, and he clearly can't let that happen.

Marbury closed with this comment about his time in Minnesota:

"You had two guys who knew how to play basketball and loved the game, that's how I thought it was going to be everywhere. When you're young, you really don't know. That's why it's called experience."

There is so much wrong with that statement that I barely know where to begin. First of all Marbury has never shown that he loves the game. What he loves is being the star of the game. He doesn't do anything well except score and even that is now in question. And if he had such an ideal situation in Minnesota then why did he want to leave? He thought it was going to be like that everywhere? What the hell does that mean? He was clearly hoping that it wasn't going to be like that everywhere because he refuses to share the spotlight with anyone. Kobe Bryant, who is twice the player that Marbury is (and who many point to as the poster boy for the spoiled NBA Player), managed to keep his ego in check long enough to win three championships with Shaq in LA. Marbury is apparently incapable of or certainly unwilling to make the same sacrifice. He couldn't get out of Minnesota fast enough.

Experience has taught Marbury nothing. He still doesn't care about winning, or playing the right way, or being a team player. He longs for Garnett because he longs for a change. He's worn out his welcome in NY just as he has in every other city that he's played in. Is it just coincidence that every team he leaves gets better (Phoenix and NJ as prime examples)? I don't think so. He has never and probably will never make a team better. Unless he changes his ways (and that is highly doubtful), controversy and that shiny dome of his are doomed to be the only things that rotate around "Starbury".

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