Sunday , Apr , 08 , 2007 Oly Sandor

The Take: Reminiscing On The Unlucky Legacy Of Starbury Marbury


I nicknamed him Rocky because he was always training. Every TV story or magazine picture showed him working out, the infamous Coney Island projects hanging in the background.

And I remember there being plenty of TV stories and magazine pictures. As a teenager, I read about his high school exploits in Slam. NYC’s daily papers followed his every step. He had that New York buzz-like Biggie right before Ready To Die dropped.

I thought his prep career would be the beginning. I thought he was marked for greatness. I thought he was The Chosen One, the youngest brother from the large basketball playing family who would make good in the NBA.

Today, I think the beginning will actually be the peak for Stephon Marbury.

But I don’t blame Steph. I used to. I used to blame him for bailing on Minnesota and KG. I used to blame him for killing New Jersey. And I used to blame him for Phoenix and New York.

Something changed my opinion. I respected how he gave a million dollars to victims of Katrina. I respected how he defended himself against Larry Brown. And I respected the idea behind his Starbury shoe line.

I watched the Knicks all season. Cheering for him and the team Coach Brown abused. Steph wasn’t always at his best. But it didn’t matter because he tried. He became a team guy instead of the scorer everyone hated on. He listened to his coach. And he picked the right times to defer to others.

Even though he had the best of intentions, his season started slowly. Then, suddenly, his play took off. He learned balance, specifically when to shot and when to pass. The Knicks were rolling, pushing for a playoff spot. Everything seemed to be clicking on Madison Avenue.

Today, I heard Stephon Marbury is out for the season with an injury. Timing had never been his strong suit. And he never found the right situation or the right team.

I hope this isn’t it. I hope there’s more than high school. I hope the kid who trained in the streets of Coney Island finally finds his way in the pros.

Oly Sandor is Hoopsvibe’s NBA analyst. Contact him at olysandor@hoopsvibe.com.