Dealing with adversity as a pro athlete is a given. How much they have to deal with is decided by the people involved in their career. Former New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury had a roller coaster ride of an NBA career and he is now opening up about the tougher moments of his career – the most interesting of which being his relationship with legendary head coach Larry Brown.
The two started butting heads during the 2004 Olympics. Marbury spoke to Wallace Matthews of Complex about the experience and why it soured so quickly.
Marbury says that on the first day of Olympics practice, Brown asked his players—a group that included LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Tim Duncan and Allen Iverson—to state their goals for the tournament.
“By the time he got to me, everything was said that needed to be said,” Marbury says. “So I said, ‘Let’s also not forget that we need to have fun.’ And Larry goes, ‘Huh. Listen to this guy, talking about having fun!’Marbury was stung and embarrassed by Brown’s condescension. He calls the Olympic experience, ‘The worst 38 days of my life.’
Thinking that his time with Brown was up, Marbury returned to the Knicks in good spirits. Little over a year later, President of the Knicks at the time, Isiah Thomas was going to name Brown as head coach. Marbury wasn’t very happy with the decision and protested mightily.
“I begged Isiah not to bring him to the Knicks,” he told Matthews. “It was just unbearable, man. Nobody wanted to play for him. The whole energy was terrible. But it was the environment he wanted. Misery.”
That is a lot to deal with for a player that at the time was dealing with a lot of different stressors on his career. Carrying a Knicks team that was looking to make an impact was a tough environment.
It makes you wonder what Marbury’s career would look like otherwise. Although, the fact he is a legend in China post-NBA career makes his story that much more interesting.