(I worked as a Sports Editor from late 2004 until the summer of 2006. This is one of the many columns I was able to save that were originally published in The Sun-Times of Heber Springs, Arkansas.)
As the NBA season enters the final few weeks before the playoffs begin, intriguing new subplots keep popping up like a fresh Allen Iverson tattoo to keep hardcore fans like myself entertained.
There’s LeBron James failing once again to carry his Cavs to new heights; the Heat finally catching fire with Dwayne Wade and an energized Shaq; the Spurs and Mavericks race for the top spot in the West; and the Grizzlies trying to hold on to a playoff spot despite a late season collapse.
All of those stories are riveting, but what I’m most interested in is the war of attrition that is beginning to turn into an all-out assault between Knicks coach Larry Brown and point guard Stephon Marbury.
Earlier this week Marbury said Brown’s method of wanting his point guard to distribute the ball (imagine that) wasn’t winning games, so he was going to go back to being ‘Starbury’.
For those who may not know, ‘Starbury’ is a shoot-first ball hog who would rather score 40 and lose than dish 12 assists and win. ‘Starbury’ is the same player that was paired with a young Kevin Garnett in Minnesota and elected to leave for more cash and more shots.
He has never won anything, ruined team chemistry on just about every team he’s played on and inspired hatred from almost all of his New York teammates.
Brown fired back by saying reporters should check his record and that he had given Marbury more freedom than any guard that had ever played for him.
Marbury responded by saying that now it was personal, and they were going to meet in a loser-leave-town steel cage match to decide who was the king of New York – not really, but wouldn’t that be awesome?
I’m not a huge fan of Brown, but I loathe Marbury. Brown’s constant need for affection – in as many different places as he can find it – can be debated in psychiatry classes from now until forever.
But one thing that can’t be questioned is his track record of success.
He took two scoring point guards in Allen Iverson and Chauncey Billups to the NBA Finals, and won with Billups. If Marbury doesn’t see that and isn’t willing to change his game for a chance to win, he’s a moron.
Personally, I hope they continue this bickering. Hopefully, they’ll be at each other’s throats by mid-April and can settle their differences on PPV.