Free Darko Presents: This Carmelo BusinessBusiness has never taken over the sports conversation quite this much before, which we’re wary of as fans — but as off-the-court sports narratives go, this was a pretty compelling one.
It Happened This Week: Striking BackHillary Clinton hit Barack Obama on Reverend Jeremiah Wright even as critics slammed her for fibbing about Bosnian sniper fire, Sean Combs smacked down rumors that he was involved with Tupac’s shooting, and other events of the week that was.
Stephon Marbury Is Back, and PrayingStephon Marbury was back in Madison Square Garden last night after a week of absence forced by Isiah Thomas. (Marbury is on the injured list because of ankle surgery, but last week we learned that Thomas had banned the Knicks point guard from home games, and even went so far as to leave his name off a list of backcourt players when talking about the 2008–2009 season.) Marbury said that some of Thomas’s comments this week “bothered” him a lot, but that he “prayed to God” he would return full-time next season. From the Daily News:
“Whatever [Thomas] is saying he is going to do I can’t change his mind. I can tell you how I feel about the organization and how I feel about Mr. Dolan. He didn’t have to sign the bill for me to come here. I respect him a lot despite all of what is going on.”
Things have gotten so bad in Knicksville that now announcers rush through reading off Thomas’s name so the crowd won’t have time to boo. Marbury himself calls it a “circus.” Since it’s become clear that the feuding duo probably won’t both be back next season, but maybe one or the other will, the game of sucking up to Jimmy Dolan has begun.
STEPH: I WANNA STAY [NYP]
Stephon Marbury back in ‘circus’ [NYDN]
the sports section
The Knicks Have Us All in a TizzyThe Knicks are in such a puzzling downward spiral that Daily News reporters can’t even agree on what’s up with their favorite team. After coach Isiah Thomas kicked the whole team off the court during practice yesterday for lack of “hustle,” the paper’s main article claims that there is “increasing speculation that Thomas is on the verge of being fired.” “It is a three-ring circus” among the players and staff, said a source. “It’s getting worse.” But Mike Lupica, the paper’s legendary sports columnist, says “Isiah Thomas can’t get fired for anything Jimmy [Dolan, chairman of the Knicks] still believes in Isiah, and there is no reason to believe that he’s going to stop any time soon.” Lupica suggests Dolan and Thomas stand in the middle of the Garden have a town-hall-style meeting, listening to what their paying fans have to say about the way they are destroying New York’s team. They’d never do it, but we’re desperately hoping that when fans start speaking with their wallets and stop buying tickets to watch team’s debacles, the pair will start listening up. That or Jimmy’s dad, Charles, will finally pull off his belt and whup the team (and his son) back into shape.
Can we say “whup”? Does that make us sound too butch?
Thomas Kicks Knicks Out Of Practice [NYDN]
Jim Dolan Still Listening to Isiah Thomas [NYDN]
the sports section
Marbury Stephs on All Our DreamsA day after Stephon Marbury fled Phoenix after a major blowout with Knicks coach Isiah Thomas, and two days after the Daily News came out with a report that the point guard’s future with the team is in doubt, everybody is still clutching for information. ESPN.com has started a “Marbury Watch,” which is of course what any Website should do on such an occasion, and the Times called the whole thing “a startling sign of how badly his once-promising career has eroded.” The News asked, “When does Thomas officially get put on notice? Why should Thomas, after all he’s done to build nothing more than a mediocre team for years to come, be allowed to make what would be another radical, franchise-changing move?” And the Post, of course, put Marbury’s face on a milk carton and called him a “Basket Case.” But nearly everybody, including us, is obsessed with what Marbury shrieked to his team after hearing he wouldn’t start anymore: “Isiah has to start me,” he reportedly ranted. “I’ve got so much [stuff] on Isiah and he knows it. He thinks he can [get] me. But I’ll [get] him first. You have no idea what I know.” First of all, it’s awesome how they translate Marbury’s swears for us, as though we wouldn’t understand what he meant if they said “s—, f—, f—.” And second, OH YES.
Stephon Marbury threatens to dish info about Isiah Thomas [NYDN]
Traveling Marbury [NYP]
Unhappy Marbury Leaves Knicks Trip [ESPN]
Marbury Leaves Knicks In Dispute [NYT]