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"They picked the wrong coach at the time" - Stephon Marbury on why the 2004 USA Olympic Team failed terribly

There are no stories about whether the Marbury-Brown rift ended, if it ever did.
Lamar Odom and Stephon Marbury sit on the bench during the 2004 Olympics. Larry Brown in 2014.

Stephon Marbury and Larry Brown

Over the years, people have buzzed about an array of infamous NBA feuds. But not all were aware of the beef between Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown and former NBA star Stephon Marbury.

Clash in Athens

In the NBA, Marbury and Brown had no issues with each other. So, everything was fine when the USA Basketball Board of Directors made the decision about who will be the coach of the team competing at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

According to Marbury, all that changed when Brown began coaching Team USA like it was a regular NBA team. For “Starbury,” that was a big no-no.

“I really had a bad experience with Larry Brown in the Olympics. It was a team full of All-Stars and he was trying to coach the team like it was his team. Telling guys how to play the ‘right way,’ what they should and shouldn’t do on the court, instead of just trying to win that gold medal,” Marbury said via ClutchPoints.

In all fairness to Marbury’s sentiment, it doesn’t take a basketball genius to acknowledge that it’s somewhat unnecessary for a 12-man roster stacked with mostly multi-time All-Stars to be told how to get things done the “right way.”

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The silent conflict within the 2004 Team USA soon spilled over to the basketball court, and the Americans failed to bring home the gold. Some say the lack of superstar power on that roster was the reason, but Marbury’s read on the matter was plain and simple.

“To me, it was simple: They picked the wrong coach at the time,” he concluded.

Reunion in New York

Even to this day, the 2004 Athens Olympics are deemed as a debacle by basketball fans in the United States. However, there was nothing left to do but move on. So, everybody from that 2004 Team USA campaign carried on with their lives.

Back in the NBA, a playful twist of fate saw Marbury and Brown having a mini-reunion in New York, and it was only roughly a year after the 2004 Olympics. As expected, what happened next was a series of events leading to complete mayhem. This time, Marbury found an ally in his fellow All-Star guard Steve Francis.

“Marbury and Francis ended up bonding and uniting against Brown,” Sports Illustrated’s Howard Beck said. “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.”

There are no stories about whether the Marbury-Brown rift ended, if it ever did. So, it wouldn’t be a shock if we sense hatred the next time we hear the pair talk about each other.

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