Stephon Marbury does not give a fuck anymore, which ultimately makes him the most relevant he's been in years. Starbury is back in the headlines again, this time for defending Michael Vick, after a summer in which he talked about playing in Italy once his Knicks contract expires, gave a batshit crazy interview on NBC (see below), and even offended people with his low-budget sneaker charitable work.
This is not even to take into account the fact that dude started his own talk show and impersonates Stephen A. Smith in the promos for it. This is not to MENTION that the guy was writing crazy blog posts for the NY Post, calling out commentors, writing shit like:
I guess we could ask people like Tony who called me a lowlife…and
"islesfan'' who said I was drugged up.
Let me ask YOU dudes a question. How would your mother feel if someone put you on blast in all the media and said you were on drugs in front of all your co-workers, your friends and family?
What is that to say about someone? I’m on drugs? OK.
You have to look yourself in the mirror and say I spoke about this
man and I don’t even know him, just what I heard someone else
say. That's crazy. Remember, the only truth to a rumor is “I heard…”
You don’t know about me.
You don’t know my life.
You heard about me.
You heard about my life.
You want to make me the clown…I’m not the dude on the ESPYs, getting carried on a throne. I’m not him. I’m the good guy, not the bad guy. I don’t want to be carried on the throne…I just want to walk among the people.
Quite simply, dude is starting to lose it. After years of being the NBA's whipping boy, being unfairly chastized for never winning a playoff series (T-Mac anybody?), being called out by Larry Brown, been miscategorized as a "shoot-first" point guard, and after getting scrutinized to no end for confident remarks misunderstood as arrogance, Steph has got nothing left to lose. He has alienated himself from former coaches and teammates, he HAS HIS OWN SNEAKER COMPANY (i.e. no big endorsements to lose), and he plays for the Knicks. And in this day and age when the NBA is ambassadored by the boring Wade, the calculating LeBron, and the "rehabilitated" Carmelo, you have to love a guy with this sort of candor.
The Vick comments, for example, were a breath of rare realness. Now, I'm not gonna even come close to endorsing Michael Vick's behavior, but I have to say that Marbury's remarks were pretty on point. Marbury was certainly off-base with calling dogfighting a "sport," but not so off with putting dogfighting on the same level as duck-hunting. And what really counted was that Starbury used the term "good human being" to describe Vick and talked about him falling into a "bad situation." Is there not room in the media for this voice of brotherhood and solidarity with one's fellow athlete? Outside of a few Falcons, I haven't heard many current pro athletes get behind Vick in this way. No one would dare jeopardize any public favor or endorsement deals by speaking so honestly. Again, what the fuck does Steph care? Nothing to lose.
My personal hope is that this is just the beginning. The further Steph falls down the gutter, the more license he has to speak crazily. The Recluse predicted that in ten years, Steph would transform into a crazy activist type, some sort of hybrid between Mike Tyson and Jim Brown. I personally see a lot of parallels with R. Kelly. Around the summer of 2004, it was easy to pair up Kobe with Kellz as the NBA equivalent to this pop culture figure. Both had just been accused of sexual misconduct, both were annoyingly successful, and both had recently been shit on by the biggest dogs in the game (Shaq/Jay-Z). That comparison only goes so far, however, as Kobe has become more and more rigid/phony, whereas R. Kelly has actually gotten crazier and more ingenuous, and in doing so has won the respect of his peers. Around the time of Best of Both Worlds, R. Kelly was on the verge of irrelevance. Beginning with the Ignition (remix), traversing through the Trapped in the Closet series, and spiced with quotes like:
“I’m the Ali of today. I’m the Marvin Gaye of today. I’m the Bob Marley of today. I’m the Martin Luther King, or all the other greats that have come before us. And a lot of people are starting to realize that now.”
...Kellz' lifepath is one of near derangement. And I can only hope that Starbury is headed to the same place. As of now, I can best compare Marbs to Tracy Morgan, a diamond in the rough that nobody ACTUALLY cared about until he showed the world his true insanity (where Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Dave Chappelle, and Chris Rock fit into this mess, I don't know). I must admit that I was pretty proud of this analogy when I thought of it, but some quick internet researching revealed that great minds think alike, and the great mind of Sam Rubenstein made this same comparison weeks ago. Of course Rubenstein compared Marbury to Tracy JORDAN, Morgan's character on 30 rock, but given the current mental miscegenation of THIS-IS-ME + I AM CRAZY that constitutes Steph's character, I would have to say that the most accurate depiction of Marbury would be an amalgam of the Jordan/Morgan truth-fiction.
Marbury is a Tim Hardaway from which there is nothing left to ban him. David Stern should fear his voice. For the third year in a row, I am predicting great things for the Knicks, because they will finally be led by a man free of mental shackles. With a Zach Randolph-Eddy Curry frontcourt of excess and disinhibition, and with FGA-record-setters Jamal Crawford and Q-Rich still on board, the Knicks will be a glorious acid trip to behold. Guide them, Steph, to where they all ultimately belong.