The ’90 are considered the golden age of NBA basketball, with some great teams like the Bulls or the Jazz that are known and talked about to this day. But there was one team, or to be more specific, a duo that looked like it could become great but never got the chance to reach their full potential together. It was the Minnesota Timberwolves with their young duo of Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury.
KG was drafted 5th in the 1995 Draft, straight out of high school as an up-and-coming prospect. The following year Stephon Marbury came to town in a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks. That trade created the Garnett-Marbury partnership.
Even though they were in their early 20’s, Garnett and Marbury would look great on the court, showing loads of chemistry on and off the court from the jump and looking like a potential contender in the making without even scratching the surface of their prime. Unfortunately for Minnesota, the partnership would only last two and a half seasons as Marbury requested a trade in 1999.
There was a lot of speculation why Marbury wanted out of a promising situation in Minnesota. Still, ultimately it came down to him wanting to play in a big market and be the number one star of the team. His wish was granted, as he got traded to the New Jersey Nets and later on to the Phoenix Suns, where he would become an All-Star.
Ego ruined Garnett’s and Marbury’s relationship as Marbury couldn’t accept that Garnett was the team’s main star. Things went even further when Marbury said his Knicks teammate at the time, Amar’e Stoudemire was much better than KG at his age. Garnett responded by comparing Marbury to a girl obsessing over him. In an ESPN segment before the All-Star break in 2003, Garnett spoke on his relationship with Marbury and what happened.
“It ain’t as complex as it seems. I know we been yapping in the papers and in the public and in the media, but him and I, we have a history, and that something you can’t ever take. If we decide to build off that or just letting back or anything that’s on us…You saw that people from his camp and little things in between that couldn’t play with, you know the jealousy part whatever but until Steph says that to me, I’m going off history.”Kevin Garnett, ESPN
Marbury ended up having a decent career but never managing to win a championship, probably because of his unwillingness to play with another star. Garnett had a similar career path, even winning the MVP award in 2004, but failing to make it through the Western Conference Playoffs. That changed he joined the Celtics to form a Big Three and win a championship in 2008. It is sad we couldn’t see how these two players would have looked together in their primes, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be. Nowadays, they have respect for each other, but the close friendship they had in their younger days is gone.