Stephon Marbury joined Ryen Russillo on his podcast to discuss Showtime’s NYC Point Gods. In it, they discuss what makes New York point guards unique, Marbury’s basketball idols, and the best small guards in the NBA today.
Russillo also asked Marbury about the 1996 draft and starting his career with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Marbury didn’t hold back.
I think I had a great experience. I had a great experience in Minnesota. I learned a lot. Actually, I learned the NBA game from Flip Saunders. Flip Saunders is an amazing coach, an amazing human being. When he passed, it hurt because he played a very important role for the beginning, coming into the NBA.
And my experience there was amazing. I just couldn’t give seven years of my life to 40 below weather and snow. Now, I picked my life. I loved basketball, don’t get me wrong. But, hold up, this is still a business, people. Let’s not have any misconceptions about what this really is. And if I can choose to go where I want, I can do that. That’s my decision, that’s my right. I’m a free agent.
They didn’t have to trade me. They could have kept me and said, ‘We’re not going to do that.’ I didn’t hold a grudge. I didn’t hold a gun to anyone’s head and said, ‘If you don’t trade me, I’ll blow your brains out.’ I didn’t do that; that’s not what happened.
I said, ‘I’m not gonna re-sign, so I think you guys should get someone else, so you won’t lose me for nothing. You will get something for me instead of just walking because I’m not gonna sign. Because I don’t wanna live in Minnesota.’
And they couldn’t deal with that. That was the truth, I told that to Glen Taylor. To this day, and I’m like, there’s a lot of things you can say about me, but I’m not gonna lie to you about nothing that is going on or something that happened. You know what I’m sayin’?
So for me, being able to have had that opportunity to tell him that and express that to him one-on-one, I thought that that was remarkable as a young man coming into the league. I’m like, ‘Look, this is just not going to do it for me.’
People said I was jealous of Kevin. I said, ‘For what? I can’t make no more money than what they’re going to offer me. It’s a ceiling. I was the max. Why I’m getting mad about me getting the max?’ I’m like, ‘I can’t do nothing about the contracts they got before, just like I can’t do nothing about the contracts guys be getting now.’
Marbury isn’t the first person to complain about Minnesota winters. He’s also not wrong that it’s a player’s right to exercise his free agency. It’s just a little funny to hear him complain about the winter, then play most of his career on the East Coast.
Granted, Marbury grew up on Coney Island, so New York is home to him, and the East Coast winters aren’t as cold. However, the Wolves traded Marbury to the New Jersey Nets during the 1998-99 season, and he spent three seasons with the Nets, five with the New York Knicks, and one with the Boston Celtics. He also spent most of his time in China with the Bejing Ducks, another cold-weather market.
The only time Marbury played in a warm-weather area was the two-and-a-half years he played with the Phoenix Suns.
The Timberwolves will always have to factor in the cold weather when building their roster. Fortunately, Karl-Anthony Towns is set on finishing his career with one team, and Anthony Edwards appears content – for now. The Wolves will probably be able to keep their core together if they build on their success last year, but the margin for error will always be slimmer because of the bitter winters.