As Usual, 1 Step Forward, 2 Back for Marbury

I don't think I'm the only NBA fan who, at some point during the last few seasons, wished Stephon Marbury would just disappear. He was the ultimate distraction, gave the sport a bad name, and was frankly kind of boring by the end. I almost want to say he was acting out, and everyone knows you're not supposed to reward that kind of behavior. And yet I had two separate conversations during Bulls/Celtics about how relieved we were -- if not for the man, then for ourselves -- to see Marbury free of all drama. To be relegated to an afterthought. ↵
↵
↵I'd long felt that Marbury was too outrageous to be a tragic figure, as well as too much a victim of his own silliness. But these discussions made it seem like, on some level, we all felt that the former Knick got a raw deal -- even if it was mostly his own fault. You feel bad for a drunk in a ditch, even if he put himself there, but only after you've walked past him. Anyway, according to the New York Daily News, there is indeed a legit reason to feel bad for Steph. Well, more according to Steph: ↵
↵⇥"I had posttraumatic stress from different things going on," Marbury told ESPN. "[My psychiatrist] told me, 'You're a mess, basically' ... To end up [on the Celtics], it's like you go from hell to being in heaven," he said. ↵⇥
↵⇥
↵⇥Marbury discussed at length the despair he suffered after his father died during a Dec. 2, 2007, game between the Knicks and the Phoenix Suns: "I basically lost my mind when my father died," he said. "I was in shock. Going to a psychiatrist was the best thing I ever did." ↵
↵If you think I'm making light of PTSD, or any mental illness, know that I cut the News's reference to this as a "sob story." Nor am I trying to pile on Marbury any further. I'm wondering, though, if this latest revelation makes the guy more sympathetic, or only adds to the circus-like atmosphere surrounding that last few years of his career. It's almost like writing a tell-all just when everyone's started to let you put your past behind you. Everyone could see that Steph wasn't right in the head; making very public claims that indirectly compare his situation to servicemen in war zones, well, it's like opening up a whole new can of worms. ↵
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↵That's not to say that this announcement couldn't help raise awareness of the illness, or bring about some other form of public good. But it also marks a return to Marbury's spotlight-grabbing form, which I think is what prevented most people from viewing him as anything other than a bad joke. Down the line, this might make the rise and fall (and fall, and fall, and fall) of Starbury all the more profound. For now -- however insensitive this may sound -- it only succeeds in making us cynical about him all over again.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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