The day after burying his father, Donald Sr., who died Sunday, New York Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury was back with his team, seeking refuge after dealing with sorrow all week.
Marbury was in the starting lineup last night for the Knicks, who lost, 101-90, to the 76ers at the Wachovia Center. He had contemplated skipping the game, but said he was glad he rejoined the team yesterday morning.
"This is definitely something that I needed to do to get back in the swing of things, because eventually I would have to get back into it anyway," he said.
His father had attended New York's game against Phoenix on Sunday at Madison Square Garden and was taken to St. Vincent's Hospital after experiencing chest pains. He died at 68 of a heart problem before the game ended.
When asked whether he was paying tribute to his father by playing, Marbury said: "My whole basketball career has been a tribute to my father. When I made it to the NBA, we all made it to the NBA."
Marbury played 13 minutes, 18 seconds in the first half and had two points, two assists and no turnovers. He went to coach Isiah Thomas in the second quarter and told him that he wouldn't be able to go the rest of the way.
"I told him I wasn't going to be able to help the team and didn't want to hinder the team from having a chance to win," the 30-year-old Marbury said.
Getting back will take some time.
"I'm still emotionally drained and still coping with something that is difficult," he said. "My body needs a rest because I haven't slept in five days."
Sixers center Samuel Dalembert admired Marbury for his resolve.
"That's so tough, and I give him a lot of credit for that," Dalembert said.