Just about all of us would like to get a second chance at something. If life was fair do-overs would be a mandatory part of it. But the reality is some of us get a another chance to fix a mistake, but most of us don’t, forcing us to live with the consequences. Which brings me to a guy who is getting a second chance to redeem his reputation, re-connect with a long lost teammate and win a championship.
Stephon Marbury, last of the New York Knicks, was finally released the other day. He quickly signed with the NBA champion Boston Celtics. Marbury now gets another chance to play with the Big Ticket aka Kevin Garnett. More than a decade ago, both players were young, almost certain to be superstars, in Minnesota. But Marbury who seemingly never played for a team he didn’t try to tear down, apparently felt that two superstars in the Twin Cities was one two many. Never mind that a guy as talented as he was then, paired up with a phenom like Garnett, could have played for an NBA title years ago, and may have won it.
Marbury got his wish and left the Timberwolves, taking with him lots of talent but a burdensome me-first attitude. And his reputation for selfishness has stuck with him over the years. Meanwhile, Kevin Garnett, who stayed in Minnesota for for what seemed like way too long, only once advanced past the first round of the playoffs. Nonetheless Garnett became a hard luck NBA icon, who won an MVP award once, but nothing else. Known for unselfish play, great defense, leadership and losing in the playoffs, Garnett was mercifully allowed to leave the Timberwolves, traded last season to the Boston Celtics. He was a hit right away. And the rest as they say – is a championship. Kevin Garnett, the great lovable loser, at long last was finally rewarded.
Now, Garnett is paired again with Marbury, who was forced to sit out the entire season in New York in a nasty contract dispute. Marbury refused to settle for a buyout of his $21 million contract, and the Knicks in turn refused to play him. Three quarters of the way into the season the two sides finally reach a settlement and Marbury becomes a Celtic. In his debut with the Celtics against the Pacers last night, literally hours after joining the team, Marbury scored 13 points in a Celtics victory.
Marbury’s reunion with Garnett for now is only symbolic. Garnett is out for a few more games with an injury. He’s expected back soon, which will formally reunite the once star-crossed tandem. Second chances are precious and Boston players and fans can only hope that an older, wiser and perhaps more charitable, Marbury buys into the team-first chemistry which was inspired by Garnett. But if Marbury continues to play like he did last night in his return, no worries, his second chance will be good for everyone.