A day after father's funeral, Marbury faces Sixers

Updated: December 8, 2007, 8:53 PM ET
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- The only way Stephon Marbury knew how to properly pay tribute to his late father was to play basketball.

Marbury briefly considered skipping the Knicks' game at Philadelphia on Friday night until he realized how much his father, Donald Marbury, would have wanted him to keep on playing. So a day after Marbury and the entire Knicks team packed the funeral, their guard was in the lineup.

"My whole basketball career has been a tribute to my father,'' Marbury said. "When I made it to the NBA, we all made it to the NBA. We all were pushing.''

Only Marbury may have pushed himself to play too soon after such a devastating week. He played only 13 minutes and scored two points in the first half of the Knicks' 101-90 loss to Philadelphia and voluntarily removed himself from the game at halftime.

"I couldn't get into the physical aspects of playing the game,'' Marbury said. "I'm emotionally drained. It's the toughest thing I've ever done. This is something that you can't prepare yourself for.''

Marbury said he barely slept the last five days and watched the second half from the bench in a warmup jacket, head in hand.

Marbury joked with his teammates before the game, laughing and walking around with headphones resting on top of his head. He spoke briefly and calmly with reporters before the game about how his faith has gotten himself and his family through a sad and painful week.

Donald Marbury was taken from Madison Square Garden to a hospital during halftime of the Knicks' loss to Phoenix on Sunday night. He died of a heart problem before the game ended.

"I'm happy that I came because I am doing the right thing,'' he said. "This is definitely something that I needed to do to get back into the swing of things. Eventually, I was going to have to get back into it anyway.''

Marbury missed New York's 100-93 win over the New Jersey on Wednesday.

Knicks coach Isiah Thomas was among the mourners who attended Thursday's funeral. Thomas said he was glad to have Marbury back and insisted last month's clash between the team's star point guard and coach was behind them.

"What I tried to constantly emphasize to him is in the overall game of life, he's won big time,'' Thomas said. "He's won in a major way.''


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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