Stephon Marbury: Modern Art—or Modern Artist?

Thomas HalzackAnalyst IJuly 26, 2009

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 16:  Stephon Marbury of the New York Knicks on the sideline against the Dallas Mavericks on November 16, 2008 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

A semi-surreal event is about to end as I write this.

Aernout Mik would be giving it a standing ovation, asking for an encore.

Salvador Dali would have dripped with loved over it.

Jackson Pollack would have splattered applause.

Picasso would have pirouetted with glee.

Rembrandt? Not so much. He might have laughed and shook his head, saying, ‘They call that art now?’

One of the NBA’s current immigrant population, the free agents, Stephon Marbury is finishing a 24 hour all live video stream in his home, courtesy of a company called ustream. All Stephon…all the time….24 straight hours.

Massive ego-ism? Possibly. Candid Stephon? In a way. Uncut and straight at you? Yes.

Understand, this is a modern form of artistic expression.

The NBA’s version of Mik?

Aernout Mik’s work is appearing right now at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, that strange and wonderful place affectionately referred to as MoMA. It’s a multiple video experience weaved into various locations throughout the building.

You walk in seeing life and art one way. You walk out with a slightly different understanding of life…and art.

Inside Hoops explains the Marbury 24 hour event and has the deal here.

It’s early Saturday morning. The screen says there are 789 viewers of the Marbury show. I feel very…special. I’m part of an elite group of…. ….spectators? No, voyeurs. 

Pass the popcorn. Turn off your cell phones, please. I don’t want to be interrupted. Get me the big box of Goobers. And an extra large coffee. I’ll dump the Goobers in and drink it all together.

Some early Saturday morning  pronouncements from a shirtless Marbury (note: some paraphrasing)?

After a song played with Stephon dancing up a storm, he sits down sweating and panting. After recovering from the Soul Train work out and calming down, the Marbury bursts of wisdom and emotional outpourings start to flow…

I’m going to Boston and back up Rondo. I’ll play for nothing!

I’ll be the sixth, seventh, or eighth man off the bench! I don’t care. I want to get a championship!

My mother told me to forgive everyone! Start fresh! My mother knows what’s best for me in life and basketball. I’ll listen to her. I’m doing just that. I’m going to forgive everyone (he alludes to the New York media somewhere around this point)!

You have to forgive every single person to the last one. My mother and the Spirit tells me to do that. That’s the only way you can be free. I’m starting fresh.

Apparently you can send Stephon live messages, as he appears to be reading and responding to comments sent to him. He asks viewers multiple times to "show me your hood."

He explains that he wants viewers to send him their area codes so he can know their neighbor-"hoods."

Apparently, someone asks him about New York

Marbury: I love New York!

Then there is a message to the Knicks….

They need a point guard? Well, I’m right here. I’m available.

It’s 9 o’clock now. It has ended. After a long time of Marbury just staring into the camera without saying anything and a period of him deeply sobbing, and more staring without comment, Marbury says a word of thanks. The end.

In Aernout Mik’s video art experience, you move about the museum and according to the NYTimes review…

You watch “documented chaotic, emotionally charged, newsworthy situations involving scores of people. As you watch, you keep hoping to discover the cause of the commotion, but no clarification arrives. They are, by turns, mesmerizing, tantalizing, and frustrating.

Stephon’s art experience was from the west coast, but it seems like he will be playing ball in Boston. Welcome back.

I’d make a joke about Marbury: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. But Marbs is 32. Young for life, but middle aged for NBA basketball.

NBA players are performers, as are all athletes.

Marbury looked to be in excellent physical shape and he mentioned that, as well. But he never did get into ‘NBA shape’ in his short time with the Celtics last season. If he returns, and it seems he will, he’ll have a full training camp to get ready.

So is Marbury the artist...or the art? In this case, he was both. Like Mik, the Dutch artist, he can be, by turns, mesmerizing, tantalizing, and frustrating.

I read in a book somewhere that “the measure you give, is the measure you will receive.”

If Marbury is forgiving everyone, and he says he is, he is deserving of the same from us. Boston can do much worse than Stephon Marbury coming off their bench this season.

Life imitates art…or is it the other way around? I get that confused sometimes.

He can be abstract. He’s made some bad impressionisms in the past. It’s time for a new canvas. I hope Marbury will paint a beautiful picture in Boston.

Now...tell us your "hood."

I’m going to go play an old fashion video game. They still make Atari, right?

Tom Halzack is the creator and author of Celtics Central at the Connecticut News site. This article first appeared there. Responses, 'for and against' are welcome.


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