SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Monday, March 02, 2009

Latest Marbury Chapter: The Triumph of Hope over Experience

Either the Celtics' front office is smoking crack or they've found the wonder drug that's eluded everyone. Time will tell.

It doesn't trouble me that the Celtics took a chance on Stephon Marbury, despite what I wrote in the first sentence of this post. As Knicks' coach Mike D'Antoni put it, the guy is talented. What bugs me is that the Celtics' fans greeted him with a standing ovation. That I just do not understand.

Why did the Celtics' fans applaud Marbury? For his body of work? For all of the friends he's made in locker rooms all over the NBA? Because he's going to make everyone forget Sam Jones, Jo Jo White, Tiny Archibald and Dennis Johnson?

Please. You might be bored in Boston, because we're still far away from the NBA playoffs and opening day for the Sox. You might be concerned that you needed more firepower to repeat. But what explains a standing ovation?

Yes, you could have clapped politely. Yes, you could have made a few "welcome wagon" signs to offer New England hospitality. But to accord him a welcome worthy of a true team player seemed a bit much.

Perhaps Marbury knows his role. Perhaps he's learned from his experiences everywhere and will chance. Or, perhaps, he'll do for this team what's he's done for all the others he's been on -- and make them worse.

Experience suggests that Marbury won't do anything other than flaunt gaudy statistics. Hope -- that alluring prospect -- can inspire confidence or cause hallucinations. As has been said many times before, it's not a strategy. Not in politics, and not in sports.

The Celtics' could have done better.

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