Few basketball players were as vilified the way Stephon Marbury was throughout his tumultuous 13-year NBA career. A legend coming out of Abraham Lincoln High School in Coney Island, New York, Marbury was tabbed early on to do very big things at the next level. His production was solid, but overall team success was not. Some say that Marbury’s selfishness is what ultimately soured his career. After a very promising few years in Minnesota, paired with a young Kevin Garnett, Marbury forced his way out of town and ended up on the lowly New Jersey Nets.
While on the Nets in 2001, Marbury turned out quite possibly his greatest performance against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers and their star players: Kobe Bryant & Shaquille O’Neal. Playing against the NBA champion — it usually brings out your team’s best performance. Marbury flashed his all-world skills to the tune of 50 points and 13 assists. Many of his points came with First Team All-Defense member Kobe Bryant attempting to “put the clamps” on Marbury. The duel was a continuation of the one they had a few nights before at the 2001 NBA All-Star Game in which Marbury and Allen Iverson led a frenzied East Rally that resulted in a thrilling victory for the conference.
Watching the highlights of Marbury’s career night, one can only ask themselves, what if? Marbury had all the talent in the world, the ideal body for a point guard, and he put up gaudy stats. Why wasn’t his career as successful as some of his peers? We’ll never know.