Now Steph is our martyr?
Imagine the Knicks' delight when Stephon Marbury, barred from home games, discovered a loophole -- They didn't say anything about Staples Center! -- and bought a $2,600 courtside seat for their game against the Lakers.
"I just wanted to see the game," Marbury said. "I miss it a lot."
He spent much of it text-messaging friends with cameras trained on him, probably telling them to check him out on TV.
No Knick acknowledged his presence. Team officials raised no objection, but alone of all media outlets there, the Madison Square Garden TV crew didn't interview him.
Quentin Richardson and Nate Robinson -- presumably two of the teammates who "ooze jealousy at the national attention Marbury receives," according to the pro-Steph New York Post -- said they didn't see him, a few seats over from Spike Lee.
Robinson said he spotted Will Ferrell, though.
Farcical as Marbury's long-running settlement talks are, they may actually affect the season.
Marbury, who has a house in the Hollywood Hills and comes here to train, is getting ready to resume playing.
"Once I get free, the team I'm going to go to, a lot of people will be shocked," he said. "All the people who say nobody wants me on their team, I'm all different things, a cancer, that's not what's going on."
Speculation has centered on Miami, so that wouldn't shock anyone.
Meanwhile, Boston GM Danny Ainge stonily refuses to comment on any interest he may or may not have.
Meanwhile in Phoenix . . .
The Knicks are some happening team, if not yet because of anything on the court.
Coach Mike D'Antoni's return to Phoenix went smoothly. Fans gave him a moving welcome before the Suns stomped his short-handed team.
"I was proud to be a Suns player and a Phoenician to hear the response Mike got," Steve Nash said. "I thought it was a classy response after a little bit of controversy in his exit.
"People really needed to brush that aside and really look at what he contributed to this city and franchise and how much fun we've had over the last four years."
In good news for Suns fans, Nash didn't leave town with D'Antoni.
Denver is 16-6 with Chauncey Billups, but some Nuggets still aren't over owner Stan Kroenke's decision to slash payroll by dumping Marcus Camby.
"I think we would be better than where we are [with Camby and Billups]," J.R. Smith told the Rocky Mountain News. "We'd probably be blowing teams out by 100."
Coach George Karl, who looked like a goner, is just thankful for what he has.
Said Karl: "Three months ago, we thought it was an impossible challenge both financially and on the basketball court."
For Mike Kahn
Mike Kahn of the Tacoma News-Tribune, an NBA writer much of his career, died last week at 54.
Mike was a chunky little guy with passion for whatever he did and a heart as big as Shaquille O'Neal. Actually, the first complaint Shaq ever aired publicly about Kobe Bryant was to Mike, then editor of CBS Sportsline.
Mike cared about everyone too, which is why we won't just miss him, he had a place in our hearts all his own.