The Arizona Republic
Dec. 31, 2002
MINNEAPOLIS - Suns guard Stephon Marbury was asked to compare Phoenix rookie Amare Stoudemire to Minnesota's Kevin Garnett when Garnett was 20 years old.
Marbury's answer was typically forthright. But it opened some old wounds between he, his former team and Garnett.
Marbury said a lot of things he's said before. He said Stoudemire is better than Yao Ming. He said he should be an All-Star. He said he's a man-child.
"Once he learns the game, it's over with," Marbury said. "He's right now by far the best player I've ever seen come out of high school. It's amazing how strong and dominant he is."
Since Marbury saw Garnett, who came directly from high school, early in his career, it figured that would be the next question.
"It's not even close," Marbury said. "He doesn't even compare to Amare. It's two different people. It's like Michael Jordan and Mario Elie. It's not even close.
"You all saw Kevin play out of high school and you saw this kid play. You don't have to ask me.
"He's a man-child. He looks like he went to the Army for two years and then came into the NBA. It's like night and day. Strength-wise, he's got that dawg in him. He's got that mean streak in him right away. It doesn't have to develop. He has it already.
"Not to take nothing away from Kevin. He was a great talent coming out of high school. But this is a kid you see every 15 or 20 years. It's very rare."
Marbury said Garnett "didn't want go get near Amare."
Garnett attributed Marbury's remarks to jealousy.
"I'm supposed to respond to that (expletive)?" he said. "Son (Stoudemire) is good. I think everybody out there saw he had a good night. We didn't underestimate him. He's been a factor since Day One.
"This ain't even about the young fella. This is about him (Marbury) being jealous from Day One.
"I was telling Rod Strickland how crazy it is how our paths now split, and in the back of his mind, I'm still on his mind with all the (stuff) he has to worry about. I'm on his mind.
"He's using the young fella to come at me. As much as I supposedly didn't want none of him, he didn't guard me either. The young fella had a good night. Nobody is disputing that. This ain't even about the young fella. This is Steph being jealous. You all know this from Jersey, from him leaving here, which was a great situation, and never recouping from that. I'm more professional with that.
"What's he want, some more air time on ESPN? W's (wins) speak in this game, man. I don't know how I'm supposed to come at this, because really, I won tonight. Since he left, I've been in the playoffs, know what I'm saying?
"This is bizarre. This is really kind of funny. Anybody who has followed Steph's career knows that ever since he left Minnesota he's been in envy of Kevin Garnett. It's kind of fun though. Out of all his things, he's got what, three kids, a wife, bills. But I'm on his mind every day. It's kind of flattering. It's like a girl."
COPYRIGHT 2002, AZCENTRAL.COM. Used with permission.