For a guy who logged zero minutes in the first game of the season, Stephon Marbury certainly gets paid a lot of attention. He's on the cover of this morning's Daily News for having the best paying no-show job in all the land, and his future is being discussed in every corner of the city. Should the Knicks pay him his $21.9 million and tell him not to bother showing up?
That will be debated for weeks. But if Steph is on the bench come Sunday night, you can bet there will be a reprise of the "We Want Steph" chants from the home opener. Lip readers have seen to that. They caught Mike D'Antoni on camera during the game, responding to the bizarre love affair that sprouted between fans and Starbury.
"You've got to be (bleeping) kidding me. You've got to be (bleeping) kidding me. What a bunch of (bleep) holes," is D'Antoni's quote according to the lip readers.
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When asked about it on Thursday, D'Antoni seemed to admit that the chanting had thrown him for a loop.
"Sometimes I don't think the fans quite get it," D'Antoni said. "Did I look exasperated? I was into the game. You get so much adrenaline at that point and you react. I'm into the game, into the moment. Sometimes I can be better than that. I'll make mistakes. I'll do better." Shortly after that, D'Antoni was ushered back to reporters by a Knicks official. He denied saying anything about the fans, claiming he curses often at refs and players during games. And, bingo, you've got yourself a story.
It's not that D'Antoni cursed, it's that the team tried to cover it up. It provides a sign that the creepy Knick rules about dealing with the media are still in place. The rules that mandate no reporter may speak to a player or coach without a member of the front office present, the rule that leads to writers getting kicked out of MSG and the rules that give stories like this more legs than they'd have otherwise.
D'Antoni shouldn't be cursing at fans having some fun at the game, but there's no way to change that now. It was refreshing to hear him give an honest answer when asked about what he said, though. Clearing the air at the Garden isn't just about getting rid of noxious players, it's about getting rid of the noxious attitude that's permeated the place.