Wednesday , Jul , 18 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Stephon Marbury’s Italian Shocker Not So Shocking At All

Today, Stephon Marbury announced that he wanted to play in Italy once his contract was finished with the Knicks … Some fans were shocked and outraged … But Marbury’s decision makes a lot of sense … Click here for news and analysis …

The public is always shocked when an athlete makes a decision that’s outside of the norm. We don’t understand when our favorite players want to do something other than ball for our favorite teams. My buddy, a Detroit Lions’ fan, is still praying running back Barry Saunders will bust out of retirement and take a handoff come September. It’s only been a decade.

So I wasn’t surprised at the public reaction when announced he wanted to play professional basketball in Italy after his contract expires with the Knicks.  Most people were shocked, some were outraged.

But I wasn’t surprised an athlete would consider such a decision. And I was even less surprised that Marbury was the athlete debating such an “unconventional” choice. Plain and simple, Starbury is a different cat.

Exhibit A: Marbury donated one million dollars to victims of Hurricane Katrina. This donation of money and time shows he has a concept of things other than NBA basketball.

Exhibit B: Marbury, as you probably know, has partnered with Steve & Barry’s to create a discount shoe line. The shoe isn’t what’s important; it’s the idea of combating materialism. Marbury could have taken a check from Nike, Adidas, or Puma, but he wanted to set up his own business and promote some positive ideals. 

Exhibit C: Marbury, over the last few years, has become a team-first point guard. In fact, he often defers to others. 

Steph marches to his beat. Always has, always will. Now consider his situation with the Knicks and the NBA. He has a great job. But he’s also had the same the job for the last eleven years. No matter how great your job is, after eleven years, things get stale. Millionaire ballers are like you and me-once in a while, they need a change, too.

Italy offers Marbury a great lifestyle, less publicity, a chance to take his shoe-brand overseas, and an opportunity to see Europe. There are far fewer games, which means less travel. The level of play and money is pretty good, too.

Not such a shocking announcement, huh? And it’s only shocking because we expect Marbury to stay in the NBA and collect a fat pay cheque. I respect him more for considering the road less traveled.

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