Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Legend of Stephon Marbury...

                        'Don't talk about it, be about it.'
                         --Hip Hop culture proverb

Stephon Xavier Marbury was born and raised in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, New York City in 1977. He is the sixth of seven children born into the tenements of public housing who had discovered a penchant for the game of basketball at an early age. So much so, Stephon took to combining his first and last names to come up with an alter-ego called 'Starbury'; the basketball savant who could make the winning 'clutch' shots and win over the hearts of his team-mates and his city alike in one fatal swoop...or swish.

His playing 'street ball' since he was in his pre-teens helped him excel on his high school's team at Abraham Lincoln High which was known for producing 'powerhouse' basketball players city-wide. Stephon also had the advantage of his father Don, who knew the cruelties of street ball, helping him to navigate the rough waters of his early career. Stephon was eventually named 'New York State Mr. Basketball' for his exemplary work on the court in his senior year.

In 1995, he was named a 'McDonald's All American', and he was listed as one of the top five recruits in the country. He was courted by Georgia Institute of Technology's basketball coach Bobby Cremins who he eventually agreed could take him to the next level.

At Georgia Tech Marbury excelled as a starting point guard; and for his accomplishments, he was named a 'Third Team All American' by the Associated Press and he won several other conference honors. After a year at Georgia Tech, he made himself eligible for the NBA draft.

He was picked fourth in an NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, and was traded a short time later to the Minnesota Timberwolves. He, along with star draft pick and player Kevin Garnett, led the Timberwolves to the playoffs in 1997 and 1998. Between the years of 1999 to 2004, Stephon came into his own and became the 'clutch' player he'd always dreamed of in the New Jersey Nets and Phoenix Suns organizations. With the Nets, in a 2001 All Star game, Marbury hit two clutch three point shots to win the tournament. In 2004, Marbury was traded to the New York Knicks, and this was a dream come true; it meant he'd have a chance to play in his hometown and in Madison Square Garden with his parents in the stands watching. It was wish fulfillment on steroids. 

Now, this is really not why I'm writing about Stephon, sure his athletic accomplishments are great within themselves, but Stephon had a consciousness that neither his coaches or franchise club owners could or would have suspected he had. 

Ya' see, Stephon remembered the days of his young adulthood, where he couldn't afford the coolest cloths and had to endure the taunts of his peers for wearing hand me down attire and how he was 'ragged on' for his decrepit looking sneakers. This always stuck in his craw, not only because of what he went through, but for how he saw young Black men especially getting into fist fights or even shoot outs behind trying to own the latest, hottest footwear...especially when the new 'Jordan' Nike sneakers came to market. 

For anyone who's not 'in the know' about Michael Jordan's sneaker franchise, a pair of these highly in demand tennis shoes could run in excess of $200 to $1000 dollars, or more, depending on how exclusive the particular shoe model is. And for young brothas growing up in public housing, these sneakers were more than footwear, they were status symbols. So young brothas were liable to do anything under the sun to get these 'kicks'. And Mike Jordan himself knew this, but sat idly by and did nothing about it.

So instead of complaining about how unscrupulous and immoral the Black youth are for indulging in the pursuit of these outrageously priced sneakers, Stephon actually did something to stop it. 

In 2006, Stephon teamed up with retail clothing magnates Steve Shore and Barry Prevor, owners of the retail franchise 'Steve and Barry's', to put out his own sneaker named after his celebrity moniker 'Starbury' (there's a pair of these displayed in my header's's the middle sneaker). These sports shoes offered the latest design and comforts of the most popular sneakers on the market...but here's the real 'coup de grace' of the product, you could purchase a pair for $14.98. 

Young Black men especially had a real choice now, of a sneaker that was comfortable and stylish and one that didn't empty out their own wallet or their parent's. I remember listening to radio ads for this shoe when they were relatively new, and they literally said, " more breaking the bank to get a fresh pair of kicks..." And not only did Stephon produce a sneaker, but he had a whole line of clothing including shirts, pants, hoodies, etc. that were all under $10.00 to add to the experience of buying his sneakers. 

Now, this is what I'm talking about, a brotha who's actually building a brand and looking out for his people simultaneously. 

And Stephon had other athletes like Ben Wallace, who's another celebrity basketball player endorsing the shoe. Stephon went on Oprah, Good Morning America, Good Day New York, Live with Regis and Kelly and a lot of other talk shoes promoting the sneaker, and when the Starbury's first run came out, they did very well, in spite of people's thoughts that the sneaker wouldn't appeal to the youth because of the low price.

But this presented a problem. Ya' see, the white supremacist executives in the corporate offices of Nike, and other sneaker brands who basically charged exorbitant prices for their shoes, couldn't have someone they considered a dumb-founded Black athlete making their pockets any lighter; and they weren't about to close their 'sweat shops' to accommodate some idealist who wanted to charge fair prices for tennis shoes. So, the powers that be engaged in a little 'damage control' in regards to Mr. Marbury and his 'Starbury's'.

Firstly, they had to find a way to undermine the shoe in a public forum or periodical; so the corporate elites went to the magazine 'Consumer Reports' and paid for an article saying how the Starbury's were fine for casual use, but when they were tested by athletes, they under-perfomed due to the sneaker's being less comfortable, less stable and having less impact absorption compared to one of their other favorite brands of sneaker...namely, the Nike Jordan's priced well over $100 dollars. 

On a segment of the news show 20/20, John Stossel cut open a pair of Starbury's when Stephon made the claim that they're of the same quality as his higher priced competitors, and even though they were produced in China, he'd made sure they weren't constructed in any 'sweat shops'. John found that they did indeed look similar to another 'higher-end' brand of sneaker, namely, again, Nike Air Jordan's; but John never commented on the performance of the shoe or whether or not the shoes materials would last as long as other higher end brands. Then, the retail chain Steve and Barry's filed for bankruptcy and closed all of its stores; periodicals say this wasn't due to being associated with Stephon's brand, but I'm sure this had everything to do with it. The inbreeding elite had to make an example of any retailer who'd help a brotha challenge the dominance of white corporations.

Not only this, but as par for the course for any Black man who attempts to challenge the white supremacist status quo, rumors of Stephon being mentally unstable started to surface. Sports mags and other periodicals were saying he was suffering a 'breakdown', and a video of a shirtless Stephon crying came to the fore. But in one of these videos, he says emphatically how people had backed away from him since he put out the 'Starbury's'; this shouldn't sound unfamiliar folks, 'cause they ran the same game on Dave Chappelle and Katt Williams when they wouldn't conform to whitey's wishes. And with Marbury's dwindling popularity and performance stats on the court, the inbreds of fascist white america thought Stephon would be reduced to nothing more than  an afterthought in the annals of the NBA.

But something else happened...

Stephon persevered through these series of travails and is now playing for a basketball team in Beijing, China called the 'Beijing Ducks'; and in the years 2011 through 2014 he's led them to two Chinese Basketball Association Championships almost single-handedly. The added bonus to this is Stephon can be closer to his manufacturing centers to supervise the production of his attire and footwear. Also, Starbury's are now being sold through 

So, if you get a chance SUPPORT THIS BROTHA!


Let's show Stephon that he's made the right decision banking on his people; 'cause you know how the pale-skinned degenerates of the corporate world would like nothing better than for him and his products to disappear without a trace. 


MontUHURU Mimia


Here's a bit of background on the streets reaction to Stephon's Starbury's...check this out!

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