Stephon Marbury was of the more polarizing NBA players during his time with the New York Knicks, amongst four other franchises.
Stephon Marbury was one of the better New York Knicks players over the past 20 years. I understand that he wasn’t always the most endearing individual, but the talent was undeniable with Marbury.
Marbury was the pride of Coney Island, and credit the Knicks marketing team for constantly reminding fans of that. One of the last great New York guards, Starbury gave the Knicks an identity during the early 2000s.
He attended former powerhouse Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, where the fictional Jesus Shuttlesworth went. It goes to show how good a basketball school this used to be.
Marbury took his talents to Georgia Tech, whose mascot is a bee. After one season of stinging his opponents, Marbury swarmed into the NBA.
Marbury spent five of his 13 NBA seasons with the Knicks. He started in Minnesota, where he didn’t want to play. The Nets traded for him, and then the Phoenix Suns, staying in both cities for three seasons.
He finally landed in New York for a slew of different people. A lifelong Knicks fan, Marbury was immediately thrust into the spotlight in the Big Apple. Marbury was as beloved a Knicks basketball player as anyone—before he lost public favor by publicly fighting with multiple coaches.
Besides the media hoopla, Marbury was a great player for the Knicks, but off the court issues during his tenure led the Knicks to struggle on the court.
During the 2003-04 season, the Knicks had one of the best rosters they’ve assembled in a long time, led by Marbury and Allan Houston. They were swept by the Nets during that season, but still managed to reach the playoffs.
Marbury lead the Knicks with averages of 19.8 points and 9.3 assists per game.
Marbury and the Knicks continued to spiral during the next few seasons. The Knicks fired Lenny Wilkens as head coach after finishing 33-49 in 2004-05. In comes Larry Brown, who famously feuded with Allen Iverson. He signed a five-year, $50 million contract.
Obviously, Brown and Marbury hated each other, and Brown got the boot after one year of being head coach. Extremely savvy decision-making by the Knicks, if you ask me.
Marbury lasted another two seasons with the Knicks, but regressed massively as a player. He and Isiah Thomas famously engaged in a threatening shouting match on the team plane, after Thomas removed Marbury from the lineup.
Marbury couldn’t be traded, and Thomas had lost the fans of New York. This time is arguably the darkest in Knicks history.
Starbury famously released sneakers in the United States that were only $15, and this changed the layout of sneakers forever. Everyone in New York had these sneakers. My entire AAU team had a pair, and we didn’t even get free stuff.
This showed a lot about his attitude, which is why I sympathize with him. He loved New York. All he wanted to do, with his god given basketball talent, was to play for the New York Knicks and win.
I will always feel for him, as he was electric to watch, and loved to help his city.