The bell has not yet tolled for Stephon Marbury and the New York Knicks, but the time is near. And in the wake of global financial collapse, and historic post-racial politics, I can't help but wonder, "What about Starbury? Is his plight no less important, no less primally tragic?"
Marbury was traded to the Knicks in January, 2004. It was an homecoming. It was a celebration. It was one of the best players in the league -- at the time many referenced Starbury as among the best 2 or 3 point guards in the NBA -- coming home to bring Madison Square Garden back to life. It was a return to NBA relevancy. It was all good feelings and best intentions.
Now it's all hell; toxic and irrevocably dysfunctional. Marbury is amazingly the second-highest paid player in the NBA. Paid more than the likes of Kobe Bryant. Or Tim Duncan, who can still beat the Knicks by himself. He is despised for this. At a time when global insolvency is a legitimate threat, how can one pathological deranged point guard earn $22 million to do nothing? He might be the best symbol for how out of wack the scales of financial justice currently are.
Marbury plays selfishly and is oblivious to his shortcomings.
However, you can't blame him for his paycheck's mammoth size. After all, anyone one of us would take millions of dollars to show up at MSG for a couple hours of work a day. He shouldn't be the object of our scorn. As the kids say, don't hate the player, hate the game.
The inspirational-ey Barack Obama campaign seems premised around the idea that Obama can fundamentally change the political game. When politics necessitated party politics, the Obama position was not to hate the players, but hate on the game of politics.
More specifically, Obama offers an earnest comprehensive approach to problem solving. No blanket "War on Terrorism" or even "War on Overpaid Point Guards." We shouldn't string Ostephen Bin Marbury up, we should talk to him.
It does seem that some of Marbury's spiral into the abyss stems directly from his inability to reconcile how he can transform from messiah to pariah because of a contract he has no control over. If Marbury could ignore the complaints and be more like the President-elect, we might have an overpaid, but functional, point guard. Instead we're looking at yet another financial bailout package for someone that doesn't deserve it.