Stephon Marbury is No Odysseus

February, 27, 2009
2/27/09
11:23
AM ET

Sam Rubenstein left SLAM some time ago to become a teacher. He returns today for a cameo, and it's a good one, neatly straddling his old and new careers, with some mythology thrown in for good measure.

The theme is Stephon Marbury as failed epic hero. Rubenstein writes:

I am in full command of planning and teaching a 9th grade English class now. We are working on Homer's Odyssey. One thing I noticed is that when people like Odysseus or Ajax or whomever, disrespect the Gods, terrible things happen to them.

This is also why there was so much kindness and hospitality back then. Everyone had to be nice or they'd catch a lightning bolt through the skull. As my students would say "That's OD!"

Anyways, I needed a modern day example of someone who was disrespectful and boastful, and all the other stuff that Gods hate.

"I'm the best point guard in the NBA." -- Stephon Marbury, January 1, 2005.

In the midst of a lesson on the themes of hospitality and manners and big fat Greek weddings and respect, I read the quote out loud, pulled my Marbury jersey out of my bag, and showed it to the children. The hatred, oh the delicious hatred ... One boy started shaking violently and just ranted 'He sucks!' over and over again. One girl compared him to Ajax, who proclaimed that he didn't need Poseidon's help to cross the sea. (As if!!!) Another said 'Yeah so what though, he's getting money!' and that led into the whole discussion of how this student was correct, but that Steph failed in his quest to be the boy from Brooklyn to go on a journey to exotic new places: the frozen twin cities, the ghastly swamps of East Rutherford, the bone dry desert, an ODYSSEY if you will, and then come back home victorious."

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