Stephon Marbury: Enigma, Head Case, Philanthropist

Alan ThomsonCorrespondent IDecember 2, 2008

Stephon Marbury reportedly duked it out with his coach on a team flight and later blackmailed that same coach after he had been removed from the starting lineup.

He chose to undergo a season-ending surgery that his team had determined to be unnecessary.

His feuding with another coach, one of the most respected in history, has been cited as one of the reasons for the coach's firing—I'm talking about Larry Brown, not Isaiah Thomas, in case you were wondering—just one season into a five-year deal worth more than $50 million.

He has also fired both of the agents he's had, and now rolls alone in that department.

And when his team had only eight players available for a recent game, he refused to play despite his $21.9 million salary.

Yet he has somehow managed to make The Sporting News' list of "Good Guys in Sports" three times.

Allow me to introduce Stephon Marbury—enigma, head case, philanthropist.

Sure, he has made himself so unwanted that his team would rather eat his mammoth contract than let him play. But believe it or not, off the court he is quite the humanitarian.

In his effort to "change the world," he teamed with Steve & Barry's store to provide affordable but high quality sneakers and clothing. His Starbury basketball sneakers sell for just $14.98 and all items in the Starbury collection sell for the same amount or less.

He hosts an expenses paid four-day camp for underprivileged students which concludes at his house in Maryland.

His Starbury Stars program provides free tickets to every Knicks home game to local youth groups.

He has been spotted dishing out Thanksgiving meals to the needy while his Team Marbury Charitable Foundation also donated 2,000 turkey dinners.

He hosted a Starbury Fantasy Weekend that included youth educational clinics and a fundraiser for which he won an NBA Hometown Hero award.

So in a word, how does one best describe Stephon Marbury? "Dichotomous" certainly comes to mind.

Is his a case of basketball genius and madness? I don't know. But to be honest, I, for one, am willing to accept his basketball-related borderline psychosis in exchange for his off the court generosity.

I wouldn't want him on my team, but I'm glad he's around. You know what I mean?