Thursday, February 15, 2007

2/15 - Twilight of a Starbury?

A lot has been said of Stephon Marbury over his 10 plus seasons in the NBA: He is selfish. He doesn't show up some nights. He is uncoachable. This may be how many in the media write his legacy. One thing is for sure, Steph knows it's time to write his own legacy.

After coming home to New York about three years ago, Marbury has struggled to find his identity. The excitement that resonated throughout the Garden the first time he donned a Knick jersey lasted for a time, even into a brief (and by brief I mean swept in four games) playoff appearance. It seemed as though this thing might work. The former great PG, Isiah Thomas, would mentor the PG he traded for, obviously living vicariously through him. It didn't quite work out that way.

Marbury didn't care to listen to Lenny Wilkens (who would), and sure as hell didn't care to listen to Larry Brown. Brown came in with a "my road or the high road" mentality, and Marbury wouldn't take that philosophy in his house. The same house he dreamed of playing in one day as a kid. These were his streets, and the team would go as he would go.

That didn't work either. Brown and Marbury fought publically, and the Knicks went 23-59. So it was time for Isiah to step in, i mean, be forced to step in. Say what you will about Isiah, the man presents a calm on the bench. So far this year it hasn't worked very well, but the players trust him. His in-game decisions are usually questionable, even ridiculous at times, but the team has shown improvement, albeit still below their talent level.

The key to this rebuilding was supposed to be Stephon Marbury. Isiah evisioned him as his own second coming, 20 pt. 8 assist man who could lead the team deep into the playoffs. Countless excessive contracts and bad decisions hindered this for three years, possibly the late prime of Marbury's career. With these lost hopes in the past, we move to the present day.

Marbury has accepted a different role with this team. After being booed by the same crowd that watched him grow up at Lincoln High, Coney Island, Steph decided to rethink his game. What was the result? Eddy Curry. Marbury realizes E-City is his last chance to make a splash in the playoffs. He has said countless times he believes Curry is an All-Star, and praises his play after each game. Different attitude than the old Starbury, don't you think? He now looks to Curry in the low post, not caring about points, settling for 4 if it gives the team a win.

His knees are bad, his toes are crooked. He is an old man by NBA definition, but now it is the twilight of his career. After launching the "Starbury" brand, featuring ALL items under $15 (including the shoes he wears on court), he has been accepted into the hood again. His new mission is to show children it isn't all about money. Soon he will premiere his own interview style television show, discussing topics with NBA stars like Kobe Bryant.

These moves have led the city of New York to reach out to Marbury. They both feel the same pain, they have lived it together. Steph has overcome adversity his whole life, much like many New Yorkers. Now the fans are looking for one more flash of greatness. Can he lead this team back to the promised land, even if for a brief period? Time will tell. For now, instead of looking at the failures in Marbury's career, we should remember the great moments he has provided. For bringing that swagger back. Maybe he has a little bit of magic left in him.

I hope so, beacuse Steve Francis sure doesn't.

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