ATLANTA, Feb. 7 --
Stephon Marbury is honored to be a part of Saturday's inaugural 989 Sports Skills Challenge (8 p.m. ET, TNT). Marbury will compete with Jason Kidd, Tony Parker and Gary Payton in the timed “obstacle course” event consisting of dribbling, passing and shooting stations. So what's on Marbury's mind the night before he takes the floor against the three other point guards?
Apologizing to his sister.
"I didn't know that the event was going to be at the arena," explains Marbury. "I thought it was going to be at like a high school or something. So I'm arguing with my sister yesterday, telling her, 'Nah, nah, I don't need to get you tickets for that.' And she's telling me, 'Yes you do, yes you do.' And I'm like, 'No I don't. I'm telling you.' And she's like, 'Alright well go online and look.' So I go online, and I'm like, 'Hold up.' So I had to call and apologize for yelling at her and arguing with her."
Rules of the 989 Sports
1. Two rounds – the two players with the fastest times for the first round advance to the final round.
2. Players will be timed on a clock starting at 00:00.0. The clock will stop when the final shot is made.
3. Players must observe basic NBA ball-handling rules while completing the course.
4. The three passing challenges and the “top of the key” shooting challenge are considered completed when the player either (1) successfully makes the shot, or (2) exhausts the corresponding rack of balls at the basket.
5. For the opening layup and the final shot, the player must rebound his own ball until the basket is made.
6. In the event of a tie in either round (times will be to the tenth of a second), tied players will repeat the course.
7. Players will be subjected to disqualification (at the final discretion of an NBA referee) for failure to attempt all of the challenges as they are designed and intended to be completed.
8. There are no “time penalty” assessments.
9. The player with the fastest time in the Final Round wins the competition.
Apparently, as eager as Marbury was to have his family watch him compete, he would've been more at home in front of a smaller crowd.
"I'm happy to be doing it, but if I had known it was going to be at the arena, I probably would've shied away from doing it. Because I don't want to be doing that in front of all those people."
So who does Marbury think will win the event? Well as much as Starbury wants to take the crown, he thinks that the player the Suns traded him for is the favorite.
"I want to win, but Jason (Kidd) is probably going to win," says Marbury. "I'll put my money on him, for real. He's fast, and he knows how to pass."
Wesley Wants In
In replacing the injured Baron Davis, the Hornets' David Wesley has emerged as an outstanding point guard, a position he used to play before making the switch to the two guard. So why wasn't Wesley invited to compete in the 989 Sports Skills Challenge? Well, that's something Wesley is wondering as well.
"It looks like fun, but I'm wondering why I'm not in it," chided Wesley. "I'm a little upset that I'm not in it. What do you gotta do around here to get in the skills competition?"
Even though he's not competing, Wesley wasn't afraid to pick a winner, though.
"I'm going to have to go with Marbury, because ... Well, let's see, dribbling ... I think they all can dribble ... Pass ... they can all pass ... I have to give the edge to when they have to shoot the ball. I think the one who wins is who gets that shot in first. So I'm going to go with Marbury."
Parker Ready for Practice
Spurs point guard Tony Parker is excited to show off his skills, but he might be more excited to practice.
"I have no idea what it is," said Parker about the 989 Sports Skills Challenge. "I'm going to practice at 3:30. That's all I know."
Despite not having much advance knowledge, Parker is still excited to be a part of the competition.
"It's an honor (to be in the inaugural event)," said Parker. "It's great, I'm happy to be competing with Kidd, Payton, and Marbury. I'm just going to have fun and do the best I can."