Stephon Marbury Essay, Research Paper
Stephon Marbury is a basketball phenomenon. Mr. Marbury has been known by the basketball world at the young age of eleven. Many pressures and confrontations have encountered Mr. Marbury throught his entire basketball career. These began when he was a young child and they still accompany him.
Many people from Brooklyn, New York, the city in which Stephon Marbury was born and raised, have known about his basketball skills for an extremely long time because “…he was dribbling on a court not long after he was dribbling on his bib”(Ryan, 56). Mr. Marbury described himself as mouthy and inconsiderate. He loved to “talk trash” to opposing team’s players and even their coaches.
In 1988 Hoop Scoop, a recruiting newsletter, anointed him the bext sixth-grader in the nation…Up to that point, Marbury says, “I wasn’t a very nice kid. I thought I was it. It was y’all supposed to talk to me, I’m not supposed to talk to y’all. i’d just come out on the court, just talk junk, with this walk and this look.” In CYO ball he woofed at opposing coaches: I’m just killing your guards. Get someone out here who can stop me(Wolff, 62).
By the time that Mr. Marbury was a Sophomore in high school at Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, he had changed his act. He learned to treat everybody with respect and to be a professional person. He had also tattooed a panther onto his right arm. He said:
“A panther is quick and smart and always alert to everything. He’s sitting on top of a mountain…That’s where I want to see myself” (Wolff, 62).
Mr. Marbury had great pressures exerted on him to put up big numbers. He was frustrated that very few people could comprehend how much pressure was exerted on him to do this. Mr. Marbury even had international recognition by making the covers of magazines in France and Germany. A news show on the American Broadcasting Company, “Nightline”, profiled him. Mr. Marbury says:
It’s real hard for people to understand if they don’t come from New York, I was scrutinized for every little thing. In high school, I was like what Michael Jordan is to the NBA. I had to be on top of my game every day. Everybody was gunning for me(Ryan, 54).
Mr. Marbury met another high school basketball phenomenon from South Carolina, Kevin Garnett. They both currently play on the Minnesota Timberwolves. They both knew of each other and had always wanted to meet. One evening, Mr. Marbury got Mr. Garnett’s phone number and gave him a phone call. They talked together for several hours about basketball, women, and other interests that teenagers share. Eventually, their phone bills became the price of a nice pair of basketball shoes, or about one hundred dollars.
Choosing a university was quite a challenge for Mr. Marbury. He practiced with many different universities before making his choice; and many of them, he did not like.
…Stephon Marbury spent two weeks in Minneapolis training under University of Minnesota coach Clem Haskins before the 1994 World Games in Buenos Aires. I hate the place…And that was in the summer! It was culture shock. By the time we were done, I couldn’t wait to go to Argentina, and who ever thought I’d say that(MacMullan, 1)?
Ironically, after he decided to leave college, he would play professionally at Minnesota. After dealing with numerous universities, he chose to attend college at Georiga Tech University.
Stephon Marbury was not the only person in his immediate family to play college basketball. His oldest brother, Eric “Sky Dog” Marbury played at Georgia between 1979 to 1982 and was cut by the then San Diego Clippers in 1982. His second oldest brother, Donnie “Sky Pup” Marbury was undrafted, although he led the southwest confernce in scoring as a senior at Texas A&M in 1985 to 1986. His third oldest brother, Norman “Jou-Jou” Marbury was described as, “‘the purest point guard you’d ever want to see’”(Wolff, 62), but he failed to make the requirement to play college basketball on the Scholastic Avchievement Test and therfore, had to settle for junior college. Norman Marbury played only one year of Division I college basketball his senior year at St. Francis College in Brooklyn. Stephon, the fourth of five brothers, has a little brother, Moses Marbury, who currently plays basketball at Lincoln High. He is currently a Junior guard, but is not the phenom that Stephon is.
Stephon Marbury had many oppositions in college that proved to him that he was still inexperienced. Chris McGuthrie, a 5′9″ senior guard from Mount St. Mary’s University, scored 37 points on him and led St. Mary’s to a victory. After that loss he asked the manager for a copy of the game. He watched it into the middle of the night and realized that he needed help. His brother, Donnie, told him that he “Got to play like Stephon. Got to go through the middle, got to get through the middle, got to get to the basket”(Wolff, 62).
Stephon Marbury was constantly pressured by his coach, Bobby Cremins, to put up big numbers and to make big plays. Mr. Marbury was known as the “go to” guy on the team. The coach expected him to be on top of everything all of the time. There was also a great amount of pressure exerted on him from the fans and the media. Also, he knew that if he failed to make it to the National Basketball Association, he would be ridiculed in Brooklyn.
New York City can be unforgiving toward its phenoms. The starmakers ballyhooed former playground legend Dwayne (Pearl) Washington, who never lived up to his precious nickname while playing at Syracuse, and struggling St. John’s guard Felipe Lopez, who sat for Richard Avedon’s camera while still in high school, only to turn their backs on both when they turned out to be anything short of great.
This fear of being ridiculed back at home frightened him.
Stephon Marbury had always dreamed of going to the professionals. He had mentioned it to the press many times and was not fibbing about it. There was a little fear within him that he might not be able to handle the schedule and the pressure that would be placed upon him. His coach did not think that he was ready for the professionals because, “There is a steeper learning curve at NBA U than at Georgia Tech”(Farber, 70). Mr. Marbury felt that he was ready for it and decided to enter the National Basketball Association (NBA) draft.
On April 28, 1996, Stephon Marbury declared himself eligible for the NBA draft despite what his coach and other critics thought or said.
Georgia Tech standout freshman guard Stephon
Marbury is all smiles during a recent news conference in New York in which he announced
that he signed with an agent and would make
himself available for the NBA draft in June
This announcement did not surprise Coach Cremins. It made him very angry. All of the time, money, and manpower that it took just trying to recruit Stephon Marbury had been wasted.
Stephon Marbury was drafted as the number for pick in the 1996 NBA draft. Stephon Marbury was drafted as the number four pick by the Milwaukee Bucks, who was then traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Timberwolves’s Vice-President and former Boston Celtic All-Star, Kevin McHale, thought that Stephon Marbury would help the team grow and eventually be an NBA champion. Already playing in Minnesota, Kevin Garnett was another person on the Timberwolves who wanted Mr. Marbury on the team. Mr. Garnett and Mr. Marbury had always dreamed of playing on the same team together. But Mr. Marbury had many challenges ahead of him.
Mr. Marbury needed to get physically adjusted to Minnesota. Mr. Marbury did not like the cold climate of Minnesota; even the summers were cold. He lifted weights to strengthen his body to get used to playing 82 games in a season instead of the traditional college schedule of about 32. He had to set a budget to help out his family in New York. Also, many of his friends in high school were bothering him to give them some money.
Stephon Marbury still needed to get prepared mentally. All of the criticism that followed him throughout high school and college was still lurking around him. Stephon learned a few of the secrets that the NBA players know. He learned how to foul without the officials catching him, he learned how to take his defender one on one, and other things that make players great. I once heard him and Kevin Garnett in an interview about what they thought about the professionals. They both said, “It’s just a bunch of old guys who foul a lot and whine when they get caught.” Mr. Marbury felt that he was ready to help lead the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves to the playoffs.
In his first season as a rookie, Stephon Marbury, in 67 games, averaged 15.8 points per game, 7.8 assists per game, and shot 40.8% from the field. His 7.8 assists per game was ranked tenth overall in the NBA and first among all of the rookies. In his first game as a professional, Mr. Marbury suffered a sprained right ankle after eight minutes of the season opener and missed seven games. He also led the Timberwolves to a franchise record of 40-42, the most games that the Timberwolves had ever won. It was also the first year that the Timberwolves had entered the playoffs.
The Timberwolves were the seventh seed in the 1997 NBA playoffs. Their first round was against the Houston Rockets. With this appearance being a new experience to the Timberwolves, it can be somewhat compared to Stephon Marbury winning the high school championship in New York City. Although the Timberwolves were swept the first three games, Mr. Marbury felt that he had gained much knowledge. The Rockets are a veteran team with great players. Stephon Marbury told the press that Clyde Drexler, Charles Barkley, and other great players on the Rockets gave them advice throughout the playoff round. Mr. Marbury did not really want to hear it at the time, but he is now grateful for the advice that the Rockets gave to him and decided that he would use that advice into the next season.
During the 1997-1998 season the Timberwolves accumulated another franchise record of 45-37; once again led by Stephon Marbury. Stephon’s averages increased to 17.7 points per game, 8.6 assists per game, and he shot 41.5% from the field.
On Dec. 23, Minnesota won 112-103 at Seattle to end a streak of 26 straight losses to the Sonics. Stephon Marbury hit a team-record eight three-pointers and scored 35 points in Minnesota’s first win over Seattle since March 15, 1991. One week later, Minnesota beat the Chicago Bulls for the first time in their history, ending a 16-game losing streak with a 99-95 win over Chicago (http://www.nba.com/timberwolves/00690362.html).
Stephon Marbury’s 8.6 assists per game was ranked fourth overall in the NBA. He scored 38 points on November 24 against Utah. It was the sixth highest single-game score in the Timberwolves’s franchise history.
The Timberwolves once again lost the first round of the playoffs to a veteran team, the Seattle Supersonics. The Supersonics was led by Gary Payton, Hersey Hawkins, and Vin Baker. Stephon Marbury proved to be too much for Gary Payton, also called the “glove” because he leads the NBA in steals, by scoring 69 points in five games. Mr. Marbury lead the team to a victory during the second game by scoring 23 points and giving 9 assists in the 97-90 victory. The games then moved to Minnesota at the Target Center. Once again the Timberwolves defeated the veteran Supersonics by a score of 98-90. During the fourth and fifth games of the playoffs, Mr. Marbury did not shoot very well from the field. He averaged 29.6%; well underneath his normal average. Lead by the superb shooting of Hersey Hawkins and Gary Payton, the Timberwolves were once again defeated in the first round of the playoffs. Stephon Marbury had began to talk about being traded to the New York Knicks.
The trade rumors that Stephon Marbury have been talking about aren’t rumors, they are a fact. “Me thinking about playing for the Knicks isn’t a fantasy, That’s reality” (Ryan, 56). Since he was a child, Mr. Marbury had dreamed of playing professionally near his home town in Brooklyn. He does not like the frigid temperatures in Minnesota, nor does he like to be away from his family.