Thanks to the NFL, I think it’s safe to say we all got to spend more than enough time with our respective families this Thanksgiving. Not a single game slightly interesting enough that it might have reasonably excused a person from making small talk over her third helping of stuffing in order to glue herself to the television. (Not that that stopped me—I just didn’t have a reasonable excuse.) I even switched to college football in the evening, but Texas-Texas A&M had little better to offer.
However, while nothing of note may have been happening on the field (until Sunday, that is), there was plenty of excitement off the field. Particularly in the world of New York sports.
Plaxico Burress got shot. Accidentally. By himself. (He is apparently fine—fortunately he accidentally aimed for his already injured leg.) LeBron James called Charles Barkley stupid. (I put this under the heading of New York sports because LBJ might as well be a Knick at this point.) And, of course, yet another segment of my new favorite telenovella—La Cuenta de Marbury e D’Antoni.
Spoiler alert—in case you missed it and are waiting to watch it on your dvr—in this latest episode, D’Antoni asked Marbury to play, and Marbury refused.
Wait a second…
That sounds awfully familiar. A rerun for the holidays, perhaps? But, no. Because in the previous week’s episode, the game was against the Bucks. Last week, it was against the Pistons. But, still. What the hell’s going on in that writer’s room? Same storyline two weeks in a row? What is this? The Hills?
And it was more than just the nature of disagreement that reeked of stale cheese. As with last week’s episode, the two not only disagreed, but they disagreed about their disagreement. You see, D’Antoni is the only one of the pair who says that Marbury refused to play those games. Marbury claims that he didn’t.
I don’t know. This kind of plot twist—twice? It’s a little far-fetched. When dealing with an issue so clear cut, so straightforward, what possible grounds could there have been for such confusion?
Enter Stephon Marbury, the King of confusion.
While Marbury claims to have never said he wouldn’t play, he does admit to having expressed discomfort at the idea. You know, seeing as how everyone hates each other so much and he was deactivated for all those other games. So, apparently, when D’Antoni asked him to play, and he responded, “I actually wouldn’t feel comfortable with that,” he meant it as an invitation to dialogue. But a refusal? Never. Because that would be “insubordination.” (His word—not mine.) And Marbury is anything but insubordinate.
Marbury was fined and suspended as the result of his discomfort about playing Wednesday. The player’s union intends to file a grievance in response. Walsh and Marbury are going to have yet another sit down to talk about the possibility of a buyout, an idea which Walsh is opposed to in theory, but one that seems more and more inevitable as this insanity wears on.
It’s true that Marbury is a pain in the pujols. It’s true, also, that it has to be annoying to even consider buying out his full contract. But here’s the bottom line: This is a guy who is completely and utterly—what my people would call—meshugana. And his meshugas is not in any way tempered by the counsel of someone who might be looking out for his best interest. Someone, like, say an agent. Marbury doesn’t believe in those. In large part, it appears, because he thinks that everyone everywhere is always trying to screw him. This applies especially to D’Antoni.
If you want my completely unprofessional unfounded opinion that is based solely on conjecture, Marbury does what he does to show the world that he’s not a person to be made a fool of. (By anyone but himself, anyway.) When you couple his overly suspicious nature with the kind of borderline approach the Knicks have taken to dealing with him this season, the result is someone who feels he has been wronged and won’t budge until his version of justice has been served. In other words, Marbury is going to do what he does until he gets what he wants.
So, you know what, Walsh? Give it to him.
Do I think this is how to handle a spoiled child or peace negotiations in the Middle East? No. But this is basketball. Walsh’s decision is not going to affect the kind of adult a child grows up to be or whether we can finally put an end to a major conflict with far-reaching global ramifications. It will determine for how long he and the rest of us are going to have to put up with this headache. And the difference in cost will likely be an amount that is inconsequential to the Knicks in the long run.
As it stands, the Knicks are, for the first time in a while, not abominably awful. But we don’t get to read about that. We only get to read about how the Knicks are such a side show, circus, soap opera travesty. Oh, and how in two seasons they might be getting an awesome player.
So fix it, Walsh. No more of this: Don’t play, but come; dress but don’t play; play but only for a few minutes; don’t come. Despite the fact that Starbury wouldn’t trust D’Antoni to walk his dog (his words—not mine), they both seems to actually share the same goal on this one. To get Marbury out of there like now. So, capitalize on that common ground. Give him what he wants, wish him well even if you don’t mean it, and make a clean break.
For those of you in the viewing public who feel saddened by the possibility that our favorite series will likely be coming to its inevitable end, I know how you feel. The end of Veronica Mars nearly wrecked me. But take heart. I see both Starbury and D’Antoni as having major potential for successful spinoffs.