How the Stephon Marbury-Larry Brown rift began
Stephon Marbury and Larry Brown have had a long and sorted division, but that started at the 2004 Olympics, where the United States team finished with the Bronze Medal, instead of the expected gold. It all started with the play style, where Marbury found some disapproval.
Marbury: I really had a bad experience with Larry Brown in the Olympics. It was a team full of All-Stars and he was trying to coach the team like it was his team. Telling guys how to play the “right way,” what they should and shouldn’t do on the court, instead of just trying to win that gold medal.
Some of those All-Stars include the soon to be Hall of Famer Allen Iverson, recent NBA retirees such as Tim Duncan and Amar’e Stoudemire, and current phenoms LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Carmelo Anthony. I guess Larry found out about the difference of play style opinions, and I’ll let ESPN’s Chris Sheridan take it from here.
Sheridan: They beat [Serbia] on their home court, but something happened on that trip. Stephon Marbury came over to me and said, “You know, Coach Brown isn’t letting us play. He’s trying to make us play the ‘right way.’ He’s not letting us play, we just need to play.” That night, after that game I was having dinner with the other reporters and assistant coach [Gregg] Popovich and Coach Brown at one of the best hotels in Belgrade and we were telling them the story. And when Larry heard what Stephon had said, he got up and left. Soon after that, Pop got up and left. Then Pop came back about five minutes later and he tapped me on the shoulder and he said, “Can you tell me what Stephon said to you?” and I repeated the story. After that Larry Brown was so incensed that he went to the people running USA Basketball and said, “I want him off the team. I want Stephon Marbury off the team. Now. Put him on a plane and send him back home. Now.”
That never happened and Starbury played in the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics, where he averaged 10.5 points, 1.3 rebounds and led the team in total assists, with 27. But even with that, Stephon Marbury still has held this opinion since:
“To me, it was simple: They picked the wrong coach at the time.”
Even after this, Marbury and Brown teamed up during the 2005-2006 season in New York, and it didn’t end well. The Knicks finished 23-59 and the end result was Larry Brown leaving after one season, and Marbury leaving in 2009.