Stephon Marbury is not a jerk. He has been named to The Sporting news list of "Good Guys in Sports" several times. His Starbury line of shoes is priced at 15 clams specifically to let poorer kids afford the shoes. And he backed it up, too. He played an entire seaon in the NBA wearing the shoes. He's also not a Hall of Famer, except the NBA Hall of Fame let's everyone in.
I bring this up because all ESPN can talk about is how big a jerk he is. All big time sports guys are jerks. People used to whine about Bobby Knight, and Knight was a jerk. But John Cheney threatened to kill another coach. Mike Krzyzewski's wife threatened to leave him. And those are the good people that people like.
Every single pro athlete or coach and even at the elite college and high school level is kind of a jerk. The reason Marbury sticks out is that he's only good player on the Knicks. My friend Todd Allen asures me that Marbury was an asshole compared even to other players. I don't claim to know better, but the stories I hear about Michael Jordan and Larry Bird and Scottie Pippin make me think that's impoible. He might be as big an asshole as those guys, but it's not possible to be bigger. Of course, Kobe kind of went off the rail for a while, and he was actually charged crimnally. Now, I brought MJ up to Todd and he said "Yeah, but that's Jordan," like he got to be a bigger jerk just because of his superior ball skills.
I think there's something to that, actually. If you're Scottie Pippin, you have to moderate your behavior a little bit, because you cannot be more nuts than Michael. When Michael wasn't there, Scottie actually refused to participate in a game, remember? He took himelf out out of game three of the 1994 playoffs with the score tied because with 1.8 seconds left Phil Jackson designed the last play for Toni Kukoc. You can't do that if there's another superstar of greater or equal stature on the team. If you're Larry Bird, you can't sulk if Kevin McHale is on the team because he'll kill you. Not only that, but if you're Larry Bird, you might be better than Kevin McHale, but you are not that much better. If you suddenly do things like opt out of the tie game, you are no longer the best player on the team.
You are the sulking superstar who won't play. Michael could be as nuts as he wanted, actually, but his nuttyness manifested itself in an intense desire to win. I still remember him yelling at Steve Kerr for passing up a three-point shot in the finals.
So marbury might be a little isolated from other superstars being on a crap team. Also, I gues the other players ont he Knicks just do not want him around, but when you here someone talking about how big a jerk Steph is, do not forget he's an athlete, and ask "Compared to whom?"