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Friday, July 29, 2005
Blogging The Jump II


As I have mentioned before, I am reading Ian O'Connor's book The Jump which profiles Coney Island legend and Portland prodigy Sebastian Telfair.

Last night I enjoyed a tremendous section where the Telfairs sit around ripping their cousin, Stephon Marbury. The complaints, essentially, boil down to the fact that the families shared everything including food until the Marburys struck gold, moved to Maryland, and apparently stopped caring.

O'Connor corners Marbury about it, who goes on about supporting 25 people and paying for everybody's cars and insurance and houses, etc. He implies the truth is not as the Telfairs say it. He says he has to be careful with his money. And the makes a colossal PR mistake along the lines of Latrell Sprewell's infamous "I have a family to feed" quote from a year ago.

In trying to be convincing that he does not have limitless money and is all about family, Marbury actually says:
"I would love to have a yacht and to charter planes, but I can't do that. I've got to take care of my family."


(Ooh, poor little Stephon can't charter his own planes...)

Anyway, all the acrimony coalesces into two matchups, Marbury v. Telfair on Coney Island courts.The first time, Marbury--fresh off putting up huge stats in Phoenix--leaps from his SUV with his muscles bulging all over the place and announces he has next. His five square off against Telfair's five, and true to New York City style, the point guards never seem to pass. So it's essentially like a one-on-one matchup, and after nearly making the bigger, stronger, older Marbury fall down with a wicked fake, Telfair leads his team to victory.

The two actually play one on one, too. Ian O'Connor reports that unofficially, Telfair won 11-7. "I don't know if it's true," O'Connor quotes Spike Lee saying, "but I heard Stephon quit in the middle of the game. I heard he was saying, 'I don't have my right sneakers. Let me go upstairs.' I heard he quit or something, because Sebastian put it on him."

Marbury later says something about he had just had surgery. He has not, as far as I know, removed the "Coney Island's Finest" tattoo from his arm.

There's an incredible twist here, too: when Telfair was a Lincoln High senior, the Knicks were badly in need of a point guard. They were in line to have a high pick. The Telfairs were hearing from their people that the Knicks would use it on hometown hero Sebastian Telfair.

Then the Knicks dealt that pick away, and got... Stephon Marbury. One way to look at it: Sebastian Telfair's cousin stole his job.

One final thought that is inspired by this book: in 2009 or whenever the Nets actually start playing in Brooklyn, Sebastian Telfair will be in his prime, while Jason Kidd will be in steep decline. Telfair is already the most popular player in Brooklyn, and he would move a crazy number of tickets, jerseys, cable TV subsciptions, and everything else. John Nash, in three years or so, if you're still Portland GM, I promise you your phone will be ringing, and it will be the Nets calling.