Keeping Score: Stephon Marbury, 40, Seeks N.B.A. Comeback

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

As to 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 have no objection to him playing for Cincinnati. Eventually a trade was worked out, sending Cousy’s rights to Cincinnati in exchange for Bill Dinwiddie, a backup…

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