On November 13, 2007, Knicks Coach Isiah Thomas reportedly let Stephon Marbury know that he was no longer going to be the starter for the New York Knicks basketball team.
This came after reports from the night prior that Marbury’s name was being shopped around for trade offers by James Dolan (the Knicks owner) and Isiah Thomas.
Marbury, clearly upset about the situation, approached Thomas about his decision to bench Marbury and lessen his minutes on the floor during the team flight to Phoenix for a game against the Suns. Allegedly, Marbury came away from the conversation livid and disgruntled and returned to his seat while telling his teammates that if he did not start he would not suit up to play.
While on the plane, Marbury went on to say in front of his Knicks teammates that, “Isiah has to start me. I’ve got so much (stuff) on Isiah and he knows it. He thinks he can (get) me. But I’ll (get) him first. You have no idea what I know.
But Isiah stuck to his guns and had no intention of starting Marbury. Marbury, true to his word, got on another flight and reportedly went back home to New York City immediately after the team touched down in Phoenix. It has been speculated that he was given permission to leave the team, but Thomas has neither confirmed nor denied that.
The threat to blackmail Thomas is a first in team sports. I cannot recall when a player has come to the conclusion that blackmailing his coach was the best way to regain his starting position after being benched.
Isiah Thomas’s decision to bench Marbury comes after a disappointing home loss to the Miami Heat in which Marbury threw away a pass in the waning seconds of the 4th quarter and subsequently let Jason Williams beat him around a pick for the essential game-winning two-point shot.
Marbury’s defense has been questionable early on this season, which Isiah Thomas probably sees as a detrimental character flaw in the player considering the big strides Marbury made as a defensive player in the 2006-2007 NBA season.
But Heaven forbid that Marbury start playing defense and efficiently running the offense in order to get his starting point guard position back. No, instead he will blackmail his coach. But that should not come as a surprise. Stephon Marbury has made bad decision after bad decision over the past several months.
Over the summer he appeared on the “Mike’d Up,” apparently high or under the influence of some sort of drug. Marbury also made some controversial statements about Mike Vick and his impending felony charges. He thought it would be okay to laugh off Anucha Browne Sanders vs. MSG trial, a case the Knicks would go on to lose. And some time long ago, Marbury contributed to that very case by sleeping with an MSG intern in the back of motor vehicle, when in fact Marbury is married with children.
New Yorkers would not be wrong in wanting to see Marbury play point guard for their Knicks, because he is local legend and he is indeed the most talented player at the point guard decision. But the fact of the matter is that Marbury has to get his act together. At the very least, if he can’t fix his off the court issues, then he might want to decide to play a lick of defense before anyone thinks he deserves huge minutes on the floor.