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    The King Akamu's Avatar
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    May 2008
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    Nyk Logo {\Stephon Starbury/} (The Individual You Do not Know And Prefer To Dislike)

    I was going to save this for when Starbury was actually traded or bought out but I might as well do it now, he is pretty much not going to wear his Knick uniform any longer...

    I present a very well written article on one of the most talented Knick players in our history, who has been defrowned by an atrocious amount of media sources.

    As unfortunate as his Knick career was with us (due to the bad management, coaching, and uninspired supporting cast of clowns), he is still All-Star capable aswell as a humanitarian.

    The Ill-informed like to speak of him as selfish, unprofessional and that he gets too much money without knowing facts. The reporters and media love to make Starbury look bad at every angle possible, always putting forth the worst to present to the fans.


    December 3, 2008 by [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]


    You want to talk about Stephon Marbury’s exile from the Knicks… after not jumping at the opportunity for playing time offered by Mike D’Antoni. Yeah, you want to talk about ”he said-he said”, Marbury’s “unprofessionalism”, that he is — as one ESPN pundit said this week — “the quintessential selfish athlete”. That’s right. You want to talk about his selfishness — not his selflessness. Fine, soon enough. But to truly understand Stephon-the-player, we must first understand Marbury-the-man. Simply put:

    Stephon Marbury is an American hero and sports’ greatest humanitarian [1]. And only in America — and its cartoonized world of sports coverage — can he become a villain.

    I know, I know. You want to talk about the millions of dollars Marbury is making… how he is a “rich”, “spoiled”, “ungrateful”, “diva”, “me-first” athlete. Yeah, you want to talk about the millions he makes – but not the millions he has given away. That’s right. I want to talk about the $500K that Marbury pledged to Katrina victims, or the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ][Only registered and activated users can see links. ] to New York City police, firefighters, EMS, and teachers. He said:

    “…if it saves more lives, I’m down for that. As far as making a difference in that manner, I feel compelled to do that… After 9-11, and all the families that have lost loved ones, it was a big hit to the city and to the world… This is basically about giving back…

    If you don’t know what he has given, then you don’t know Stephon Marbury.

    You want to talk about the day Marbury went AWOL from the Knicks after former coach Isiah Thomas benched him. Yeah, you want to talk about that day — but not that night. That’s right, I want to talk about that night when Marbury could be found [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. Self-pity? Not quite. Marbury was mourning the death of long-time community mentor Robert Williams — more commonly known as Mr. Lou. Marbury — who once bought Mr. Lou a Cadillac — offered to pay for all of the funeral expenses. All this happened during Marbury’s alleged most selfish hour.

    But if you don’t understand [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], then you don’t know Stephon Marbury.

    You want to talk about the truck where Marbury famously requested and received consensual sex from a Knick employee. Yeah, you want to talk about “the truck” Mr. Adande — but not “the 18-wheelers”. That’s right, I want to talk about the two 18-wheelers that Marbury rolled into his hometown Coney Island with 75,000 items of free merchandise [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. …Or how Marbury [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]… or how youth must read three books to play in his charity tournament, or how Marbury’s youth outreach efforts were in full effect both as a [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] After paying an [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] to a 17-year old who just came out of a coma, Stephon said:

    “This is where I’m supposed to be… And this is what I’m supposed to do”
    But if you don’t know about his unwavering commitment to youth, then you don’t know Stephon Marbury.

    Yeah, you just want to talk about the game – but not “the shoes”. But I want to talk about [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] that Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, called “the biggest business story of the year.” Despite business growing pains [2], Marbury sowed the seeds of a movement that soon included basketball player Ben Wallace, tennis star Venus Williams, actress [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], and others. All of a sudden [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. Marbury said:

    “The big picture is not having a $200 pair of sneakers when your mother’s income is $15,000. When you walk into a store, you are not being held hostage any more.”

    If billionaire corporations like Nike have their way, then you won’t know Stephon Marbury.

    ESPN doesn’t want you to know Stephon Marbury either. The man is simply too complex to fit into their “good-vs.-evil-only” sports narratives. Besides, black villains [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. When Tony Romo took a homeless man to the movies last month [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], just as it was when Romo [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. ESPN The Magazine soon wondered: [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], and all of ESPN’s afternoon shows had effusive praise culminating in one “Pardon The Interruption” (PTI) pundit exclaiming: “How can you not love Tony Romo!”

    Well, here is one way: Don’t report any of his good deeds! Ignore him like you did Marbury [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] just a month prior. Ignore his annual charity events; ignore his Katrina response; ignore his record-setting donations, and ignore that a great week in the life of Tony Romo is like breathing to Stephon Marbury. But ESPN did not report ANY of these stories. His revolutionary $15 sneaker? Pardon the Interruption had this headline: “Can Marbury repair his image?” …Well, not if ESPN keeps framing it!

    Given their selective, biased, and virtually criminal coverage of his career, you really can’t be blamed if you don’t know Stephon Marbury.

    Save for notable exceptions like The New York Posts’ Marc Berman [3] and Knicks website writer Tom Kertes, ESPN’s Marbury treatment has been the general media rule. Only a few blogs are talking about the real Marbury. In this Interview with The Starting Five, hip-hop legend [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]:

    “Stephon Marbury… provides affordable gear and went into the Coney Island area and bought up all the barber shops so kids can get free hair cuts. I’ve never heard anything as incredible as that. [He] can walk threw Coney Island and has an aura. People know he’s looked out. Nobody will touch him in the hood.”

    While ESPN is writing cover stories on [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], they should let their readers get to know why Stephon Marbury is “living free”. In his childhood, nobody was allowed to touch Marbury either. Once his prodigious basketball talent was recognized, local drug dealers made sure that no one approached or sold to him. Marbury was protected then, and has been giving back protection ever since — with a slight twist. Stephon recognized both the virtue and flaw within that drug dealer code. About his recent million dollar pledges, [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]:

    Giving the money to the teachers is important because …[they] are feeding [children] their foundation. When I hear about budget cuts as far as schools, I just don’t understand that. I mean, not when we’re trying to allow our kids to become the leaders of the world! I want to create an environment where all of our schools prepare kids to go to places such as Harvard and Yale.”

    If media “understanding” was as popular as “condemning”, we might be told that Marbury’s human weakness are connected — if not inseparable — from his phenomenal strengths. And the crux of that connection is:

    Stephon was initially loyal to his last three coaches[4]. But despite falsely promising “a clean slate” no coach [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] [5]. Isiah Thomas was loyal at first until a scapegoat was needed. And career nomad Larry Brown has never been loyal to anyone but himself.

    They were unlike some of the great New York City coaches like Pat Riley, Joe Torre, Bill Parcells, and Jeff Van Gundy who knew the big city coaching code: 1) protect your players; 2) handle all differences in-house, and 3) always keep the NYC media tabloid vultures at bay. But Stephon was undeniably scapegoated by all three [6]. And for his part, the reactive and difficult Marbury wears scapegoatism quite well (see signature over-the-head towel).

    A closer inspection of Marbury’s reaction to his coaching feuds brought up a clear pattern. Marbury used words like “trust”, “disrespect”, “personal”, and even “foxhole”. What media often dismissed as merely “petulance” revealed a much deeper emotion: it was betrayal.

    Betrayal is the ugly flip-side of loyalty’s coin. Marbury is cut from a different cloth. He is not loyal to a game or a contract, he is loyal to people. While his recent coaches all have their own track-records of Marbury-like stubbornness, none match his virtues. Those probably come from his original coach and mentor: Mr. Lou. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]: “Without Mr. Lou, there is no Stephon.” Don wasn’t just talking about basketball either.

    If his recent coaches expected him to be a ”Stepford-athlete”, they didn’t know Stephon Marbury.

    Another clue came a few years ago after Larry Brown complained to the press one too many times. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]:

    “if something’s going to be said, I’m going to defend myself. My mother taught me that. Somebody hits, you hit them back”

    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] She is the same mother who personally cooks for 40 youth after Stephon brings them to his own personal home for a weekend stay-over. Mabel Marbury (and father Don) helped instill a value system and raised Stephon to be a great man first, and a great player second.

    Those values were recently on display in a most unconventional trash-talking session where [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]:

    “You’re nothing!… You’re caught up in basketball. Get caught up in life.”

    Touche! …I think?

    Statements like these, eccentric TV interviews, and “war-like” analogies often garner a “crazy” label from his media critics. But in a popular culture that values placing a round ball in a round cylinder over civic responsibility, Marbury may be the sanest of all. He has managed to escape the corporate “conveyor belt” that William C. Rhoden [Only registered and activated users can see links. ].

    if you can’t understand Marbury’s reaction to broken loyalty, then you probably can’t understand his greatness.

    “Apples and oranges” you say? If so, how would you know? Did you [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] after watching news footage Hurricane Katrina? While sobbing, Marbury said:

    “You see little babies floating in the river. It’s amazing. It’s amazing these people are still just going (on). You complain about the little things. But we’re just so fortunate to breathe and walk knowing all of this is going on.”

    Marbury feels pain, empathy, and loyalty in far greater intensity than his athletic peers, coaches, fans, media, and this author. That’s why we can give high-handed lectures on “professionalism”, but he can go out and change the world. But most sports media mocks what they don’t understand. Because if it didn’t, then it would recognize Stephon Marbury as — warts and all –

    …the greatest “person-athlete” of our times.

    We say “where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?” while forgetting that he was a protected media myth. We say “why aren’t athletes involved in the community?”, but barely report on our greatest sports activist. We say: “what about the kids?” while Stephon is out saving them. He does not share the polish, the easy-going personality, the temperament, or the eloquence of a president-elect Barack Obama, yet he needed no fancy title to lead Obama and the rest of us to a “national call to service”. The fact that he is an imperfect hero in an imperfect package is precisely what makes him the perfect role model. I have the tools to be great like Marbury long before I can be great like Obama.…And the more I think about it, the more I believe that I know Stephon Marbury.

    Marbury is that hard-to-get-along-with friend of mine who I never fully appreciated. But then I remember the time when I got kicked out of college, and was stuck with a $3500 bill if I ever wanted to return. Then I think about a couple of years later when my father passed away. Then I reflect on the time that I went through a divorce. And each time you know what happened – Stephon Marbury showed up… to pay my college bill… to tell me he would “kick my ass” if I didn’t study and graduate… to comfort me in a time of great loss… or just to share his own helpful advice. Yeah, I have been truly fortunate to know Stephon Marbury.

    But what about you? Maybe you got locked up, and he kept showing up while your other “friends” suddenly disappeared. Maybe you suffered from addiction, depression, cancer or got sick in the hospital, and he helped pull you through. Or maybe you could no longer pay your rent, mortgage, or telephone bill, and you could only think of one person to call. At your lowest most shameful moment, he appeared without judgment or scorn. Yeah, maybe I was wrong…maybe you do know Stephon Marbury.

    To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle” — George Orwell

    Last edited by Akamu; Jan 07, 2009 at 06:19.

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