Stephon Marbury explains why the 2004 Olympics were the 'worst 38 days' of his life
Stephon Marbury was supposed to be one of the NBA’s best point guards. He was a phenom in Minnesota, but it was clear from his time with the Knicks that he couldn’t lead a team by himself. However, before that became evident he spent some time with Team USA during the 2004 Olympics. The ’04 team is of course the infamous group that came away from the Olympics with bronze.
Marbury, in an interview with Complex, called those 38 days on Team USA the most miserable of his entire life and it was all because of Larry Brown. The long-time coach made no friends on that team and did his best to kill any semblance of enjoyment on a team that typically dominates the international scene.
Marbury says that on the first day of Olympics practice, Brown asked his players — a group that included LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Tim Duncan and Allen Iverson — to state their goals for the tournament.
“By the time he got to me, everything was said that needed to be said,” Marbury says. “So I said, ‘Let’s also not forget that we need to have fun.’ And Larry goes, ‘Huh. Listen to this guy, talking about having fun!’
Brown was always known for being a stern personality, but this would only be the tip of the iceberg for his tumultuous relationship with Marbury. The Knicks later on hired him to coach the team and Marbury once again had to deal with one of his most hated coaches.
“I begged Isiah not to bring him to the Knicks,” Marbury says. “It was just unbearable, man. Nobody wanted to play for him. The whole energy was terrible. But it was the environment he wanted. Misery.”
Brown is an infamous coach. He won both an NCAA title and an NBA championship, but he’s also left behind a trail of destruction at many of his stops. The Knicks were a long gone disaster by the time he got there, but with that hiring they could only make it worse considering Marbury’s already complicated relationship with his new coach.
This is yet another story explaining one of the many reasons why Team USA failed in 2004. That group will go down in history as one of the most disappointing teams to ever step on a basketball court.