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Marbury, Knicks Finalize Messy Divorce: Good Riddance!

By JACOB SMITH

So the prodigal son returning home didn't work out exactly as we all had hoped. Sure, Starbury had had his problems in Minnesota. And New Jersey. And Phoenix. But back in the Big Apple, with all his family and friends and legendary mentors like Larry Brown and Isiah Thomas, surely Stephon Marbury would return to his Showbiz moniker and bring his hometown team to the promised land. That was in the middle of the 2003-04 season. Five years later, after (finally) agreeing to a buyout, a messy separation that has seen a number of days in court has become a finalized divorce, with both sides much worse for the wear.

As a Brooklyn native, I am no longer proud to say that Stephon Marbury was my favorite player. I had all his NBA jerseys and even a Lincoln HS uni with the infamous Marbury and #3. I defended him to all the naysayers who called him a team cancer and said he would never take a team to the championship. "He's just never had the right team around him," I said. "He's strong and quick and basically unguardable," I said. What a joke. Marbury proceeded to alienate everyone and anyone who ever stuck up for him, fans and front office employees alike, and this writer especially.

There were public spats with Larry Brown, and then when Isiah names himself coach (which clearly worked out wonderfully), things were supposed to change. These two guys were supposed to be boys, compadres who would stick up for one another, be the tough who got going when the going got tough. Another failed relationship. And then in came the new regime of Donne Walsh and Mike D'Antoni, and one more chance for Steph.

But except for seeing him rejuvenate his career and go for 20 and 10 in an offense perfectly suited for his slashing game, it instead got to the point this year where the team banished him from anything Knicks-related. Banished. You have to really be something else to be banished. Napolean was banished. Think about it.

And no, I don't blame Stabury for everything. How can anyone? The Knicks organization, disorganized and unruly, has resembled a three ring circus since Ewing left. Except that's three rings the Knicks couldn't even dream of. Owner James Dolan has come out of this looking very Al Davis-esque, Larry and Isiah were fired, deservedly so, and even D'Antoni and Walsh, with everything they have done to make the Knicks watchable again, obviously mishandled this situation.

But that's the thing with Stabury and his tattoed head. He needs to be handled. He's not a team leader who's going to go out there and take his troops into battle. He's a head case, a disoriented malcontent who has an ego that couldn't fit inside the World's Most Famous Arena.

Remember earlier in the season, when Marbury refused to play even though the team was only dressing eight players due to the Jamal Crawford/Zach Randolph trades? Quentin Richardson, probably the Knicks' default leader at this point, blasted Marbury, saying that's not what you do to teammates. You don't abandon them in times of need. Then Marbury came back at him in the press, saying it wasn't only the organization that alienated him, but his teammates too. Another drama.

Maybe we don't know him well enough to judge him (though his entire life has become more public than Paris Hilton's). But the guys in his locker room, the guys who played with him and went out with him, they hate him too! Only the players union stuck its nose in on his behalf, and that's because it was contractually obligated.

So now it's over. The buyout that should've happened before the season finally happened, and Starbury is taking his crossover, his jumper, and his troubles most likely to Boston to be reunited with Kevin Garnett. For a team who turned chemistry into a championship title last season, I'm not sure this is the best move. Perhaps they should reevaluate the consequences of such an action. Because I'm done sticking up for Starbury. At this point, I'm just happy to see that tattoed head and all the chaos rattling inside it on its way out of New York.

It's time to move on for both parties involved. Because it's painstakingly obvious, as we peer through the looking glass at the trials and tribulations of the Knicks and Starbury, that this was one marriage doomed from the I Dos.

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