"My goal is to finish strong with a team that can use some veteran leadership," Marbury wrote. "I've got a lot of situations in the game. I know I can help young generation like my vets (Terry Porter, Mike Williams, Doug West, Stanley Roberts and Googs) helped me. "

As the question of precedent, look no further than Bob Cousy, the Hall of Fame point guard of the Boston Celtics A small, brash, slick-passing point guard from New York City (sound familiar?), Cousy was coaching the Cincinnati Royals in 1969 when he decided he would strap on his sneakers for another stint as a player more than six years after he had retired in a day dubbed the Boston Tear Party.

The decision resulted in a public squabble between Cousy and Red Auerbach. Auerbach, the general manager of the Boston Celtics, contended that the team retained Cousy's rights as a player, but Cousy insisted the comeback was just a promotional stunt so the Celtics should not be playing for Cincinnati. Eventually a trade was used, sending Cousy's rights to Cincinnati in exchange for Bill Dinwiddie, a backup forward.

Leading up to his debut as a player-coach, Cousy discussed the decision to come back with Robert Lipsyte of The New York Times.




Stephon Marbury has a micro-museum dedicated to him in Beijing, but he wants one more shot at the N.B.A. before retiring.
            Ng Han Guan / Associated Press


"I'm 41 years old and I've sat out 6½ years and this game has become one of sustained running," Cousy said. "I'm not really going to do anything significant out there."

Ever the competitor, Cousy then walked that statement back, telling Lipsyte "Well, I have kept myself in shape.

The difference between Cousy and Marbury, of course, is that Cousy was a beloved and respected player whose last game before retirement earned him his sixth championship ring Marbury, despite flashes of brilliance and a career scoring average of 19.3 points a game, was a polarizing figure at best, and did not make it out of the first round of the playoffs when he was the tenth man for Kevin Garnett's Celtics Despite all of that, the argument could certainly be made that Marbury, who has been playing professional basketball nonstop, is more court-ready at 40 than Cousy, who was long retired, was at 41. Cousy's comeback is basketball related, rather than a ploy to boost attendance.

Regardless of how active Marbury has been, he has been out of the NBA For nearly nine years, the Flying Ducks' season ends, and that will easily break the record for the longest gap between the N.B.A. Excluding players who went from the N.B.A. to the A.B.A. and back, the Elias Sports Bureau says the distinction for the longest gap between N.B.A. Games belonged to Gary Plummer, a power forward, who played 66 Games for the Golden State Warriors in the 1984-85, disappeared to Europe, and then returned to play in 60 games for the Denver Nuggets in 1992-93. Plummer's hiatus lasted for 2,776 days.




Marbury, left, was a prep star in Coney Island, and his return to New York. But despite a superstar contract and two All-Star appearances, he was able to translate his talent into victories.
            Barton Silverman / The New York Times


Cousy's hiatus lasted 2,403 days, while Marbury has been out for 3,077 days when the Knicks open the 2017-18 season on Oct. 19.

The fact remains that Marbury will be 41 before any comeback can take place, which will be the brakes a great deal. But the good news for anyone is going to get a shot, is that 40-plus is no longer a scary number in the N.B.A. Just 22 players have appeared in a game after their 40th birthday since 1963, according to Basketball-Reference.com, and only five of those players have played 50 or more games after turn 40, but it is a feat that appears rarely rare season A 40-year-old has appeared in at least one game in all but one of the last five seasons, and thanks to Vince Carter, who signed a one-year contract with the Sacramento Kings, Marbury would not even be the oldest player in The NBA, as he is 25 days younger than Carter.

In reality, Marbury's return is about as far-fetched as they …

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