Former NBA point guard Stephon Marbury certainly has a checkered past, so it's easy to see why he doesn't always get the benefit of the doubt. With that said, though, Starbury shouldn't be taking any heat for a possible tussle with a fan following a Chinese Basketball Association game.
According to Anthony Tao of BeijingCream.com, things got a little out of hand following a CBA playoff game between Marbury's Beijing Ducks and the Shanxi Brave Dragons. Shanxi won on home court after some questionable calls, and following the game, the Beijing bus was attacked by Shanxi supporters.
Marbury was accused of attacking a fan en route to the bus, prompting the fan to go to the hospital where he was diagnosed with lower back pain. Marbury denied that he attacked any fans and said that his accuser has a "wild imagination."
Based on the way the fans were acting, I don't believe for one second that Marbury was in the wrong. If Shanxi fans were willing to throw trash onto the court following calls they disagreed with, threaten the officials and attack Beijing's team bus, according to Tao, then nothing would stop them from lying about Marbury attacking them.
The most likely scenario is that Marbury was being hounded on his way to the bus, so he pushed his way through the crowd, resulting in one fan straining their back. While it's unfortunate that somebody had to get "injured", it's the fan's own fault for being somewhere he wasn't supposed to be.
There are a lot of differences between the NBA and CBA, but fan behavior looks to be one of the biggest. Obviously it's easy to point to the situation between Ron Artest and the Detroit Pistons' fans at the Palace at Auburn Hills in 2004, but that was a one-time incident, while there are reports of fans getting out of control in the CBA on a regular basis.
Who do you think is to blame in this instance?
Marbury seems to still be playing because he believes he can still play at a high level and make money while participating in the sport he loves, but you have to believe that these types of incidents probably make him want to retire completely and return home.
He still has immense skill, however, as he averaged over 24 points per game for Beijing during the regular season. Perhaps Marbury is trying to audition for one last chance in the NBA, and if he continues to play at such a high level, then there is a possibility that it could happen.
Part of the reason why no NBA team has come calling is a perceived attitude problem and selfishness, and this latest situation likely won't change those views. It's plain to see that Marbury and the rest of the players were the victims in this instance.
It's easy to blame Marbury for being a bully, but all he's trying to do is play basketball. He got caught up in an altercation that very well looks as if it could have been fabricated. If nothing else, the CBA has to find ways to improve player safety after this run-in.