As a Brooklyn native, Stephon Marbury had an emotional homecoming when he joined the New York Knicks in 2004. The energy spilled over to the court as "Starbury" put on a show night after night for the fans. And though they missed the playoffs in his first full season in New York, Marbury was loved.
Marbury and the Knicks were hoping to bounce back stronger in the 2005-06 season. However, things took a huge turn when New York appointed Larry Brown as head coach.
A typical player-coach feud
For those who don't know, Brown and Marbury had a feud that stemmed from a conflict during their failed 2004 Olympics campaign. So, when they crossed paths in New York the following year, everybody knew something unhealthy for the team was inevitable.
It didn't take long for Marbury and Brown to rekindle their beef. The pair spent their first and lone season together, having a back-and-forth.
Sports Illustrated's Howard Beck recently looked back at it and said, "Marbury would say things about Brown, who'd say things about Marbury."
In the middle of the season, the Knicks wound up trading for Steve Francis. Beck said, "Brown thought he was going to play Francis off of Marbury." But instead, "Starbury" just found partner in "Stevie Franchise" to take on Brown.
"There was just so much mayhem," Beck told HoopsHype. "The conflict wasn't just Larry Brown and Stephon Marbury. They eventually made a trade for Steve Francis…Marbury and Francis ended up bonding and uniting against Brown. Meanwhile, Isiah Thomas is having issues with Brown and issues with Marbury. At any given time, it was either Larry versus Isiah, Larry versus Marbury or Marbury versus Isiah. It was utter mayhem."
Beck concluded that Brown's short stint in New York was plagued with "drama, tumult, turnover, and politicking." On the other hand, Marbury and Francis were getting along well.
Time to pull the plug
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Marbury and Francis couldn't mesh together for on-court production, given they were both scoring point guards. Brown tried to make certain adjustments, though, and played Francis as a shooting guard. However, the fractious relationship between him, Marbury, and later Francis was too much that the Knicks failed to win games.
New York then pulled the plug and fired Brown after logging a terrible 23-59 record. Beck said the owner handed the job to then-Knicks GM Isiah Thomas, who, at the time, was also against Brown.
"The owner told Isiah [Thomas] this was basically your groceries, and now you had to make the dinner. It's your roster, and you're saying it's Brown's fault, so go fix it and coach," Beck recalled.
In 2007, Francis left the Knicks. Marbury spent one more season in New York before following suit. Since then, the pair never reached stardom again, but we can be sure that Marbury and Francis will never forget their short yet epic time together battling Brown.