A war of words between the New York natives went down over Kyrie Irving's leadership skills, but Stephen A. Smith says there's more to it between he and Stephon Marbury - "He's had a problem with me since 2009, when he was caught eating vaseline like a bunch of cheeseburgers."
Smith vs. Marbury
This all started when Stephen A. didn't hold back on the Kyrie Irving most recent drama, "Your position is that you're going to sit up there and compromise the championship aspirations of an organization you signed on to represent… you're going to comprise all of that because you want to give a voice to the voiceless? Really, and how is that going to work out for you Kyrie?"
Then Marbury came out of nowhere and turned it around on Smith, "This is what happens when you have people like this guy, who's animated, not realistic about what it is that he speaks and talks about. He played a little bit of basketball, but come on, seriously? You letting this guy talk to you about sports? This guy never got hit in a football game, he never swung a bat, and this is the person who they have speaking and talking about what's going on in sports? Man, you need to defund his voice."
Obviously, the ESPN analyst was not going to sit there without swinging some himself, "Stephon Marbury was somebody that was considered an incredible, tremendous talent, but who had leadership issues. And so it seems more than apropos that he would come to the support of Kyrie Irving…" he said on First Take.
Stephen A Smith even went on his own show, Stephen A's world, to blast Stephon Marbury, "If I'm not qualified to talk basketball, why did your documentary, the documentary that was done on you… have me plastered all over the damn docuseries? I didn't volunteer! You asked me to do that!"
Smith mentioned his role in the documentary about Marbury, 'A Kid from Coney Island,' but could have also brought up the musical Marbury starred in, 'I Am Marbury', or his autobiographical movie titled 'My Other Home.' Because the truth is, Marbury has zero credibility when talking about what an NBA leader should look like.
Marbury talking about leadership is like Lance Armstrong talking about anti-doping. He had at least five examples to prove the narrative wrong, but his reputation only got worse with every stop. It would be so much easier if we sat Marbury on a couch with Oprah and got him to just say, 'Yeh… I was actually a pretty terrible teammate'. Because he was, I'll show you.
Young Marbury had infinite promise. There was little offensive talent in the backcourt of Minnesota, so Marbury had as long of a leash as he wanted. They went to the playoffs his first two years, which was already half of his entire postseason career. Garnett was Batman, and Marbury was Robin. The only problem was Robin was jealous of Batman's unprecedented $126 million/ 6-year extension, so he asked out. I wouldn't call it a textbook leadership move.
New Jersey Marbury
After publicly feuding with Garnett while ripping all of Minnesota in the process, Marbury sets off for the bigger market of New Jersey to get his own bag and endorsements. He takes a lot of shots, and the team slowly looks more depleted with every game under Marbury, going 26-56 his final year. I'm going to go on a hunch and say those things were related.
Now 'Starbury' has been traded to Pheonix for Jason Kidd after Kidd's stock plummets for domestic violence charges. Do you think Pheonix fans were happy with this after Kidd sent the Nets to two straight NBA Finals, going 52-30 and 49-43, all after Marbury's departure? With All-Star Shawn Marion and rookie Amar Stoudamire, Marbury took the Suns to 44 wins in 2003. It was his best team record ever for teams not led by Garnett. He left the next season, and they won 33 more games with Nash.
New York Marbury
Maybe the worst Marbury. This was his 4th team in 4 years, and poor Knicks' fans still had hope. Marbury and head coach Larry Brown beefed so much that fans got numb to hearing they had verbal brawls. Isiah Thomas takes over, and Marbury blackmails him to not go on the bench, as a leader does. I don't know what was more strange, Marbury tattooing his sneaker brand on his head or eating vaseline in a video then posting it. No, seriously, which one is it?
As a Boston fan, it was strange seeing people get excited about this acquisition. It proved as long as you've got swagger and a nifty enjoyable skill set, you will always have fans. Although - shocker - Marbury was not our secret scoring weapon off the bench. He played one season then became an icon in China. Something he was probably built for.
Marbury's teams went 333-537 when he was not playing with Kevin Garnett. He has since come out and said one of his biggest regrets was not scoring 20,000 points in the NBA. So why would anyone ever take what Stephon Marbury says on the premise of basketball leadership seriously? In 20 years, someone will post a similar article on Kyrie Irving.