“A Kid From Coney Island” Is A Brooklyn Redemption Story

The Stephon Marbury doc premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival to rave reviews.
A Kid From Coney Island premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival to rave reviews and is currently looking for a distributor.

Written and directed by creative duo Coodie and Chike, the film uses a combination of archival footage, second-hand storytelling, claymation. Combined with first-hand testimonials, A Kid From Coney Island provides a comprehensive look at one of the most highly regarded sports figures in the history of New York City basketball.

Most lifelong NBA fans and casual fans know the story of Stephon Marbury. Born into a family of seven brothers and sisters, Marbury was reared to play professional basketball at a very early age.

Marbury’s father Donald was the driving inspirational force behind the entire family while his mother was the emotional backbone.

The intimate documentary tells a few perspectives that only a few knew, such as the manner in which Marbury’s relationship with future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett in high school, who originally coined the name Starbury, and how that relationship led to their partnership with the Minnesota Timberwolves. It also documents how that relationship eventually soured.

In taking a lens to the life, failures, and triumphs of Marbury, A Kid From Coney Island also casts light on many cultural components of black inner-city life that are often lost on outside observers, such as the manner in which the very best stars often played for or were sponsored by neighborhood drug dealers. This paradigm occurs across the United States in most basketball hotbeds if not all of them.

When you’re in the Marbury family, where each of his brother’s had a failed NBA hoop dream, and one of the most highly-touted point guards in New York City, the pressure begins to pile up. The documentary shows how Stephon began to noticeably balk at the idea of constantly being compared to someone else.

This was the case with God Shammgod, Rafer “Skip to My Lou” Alston and Felipe Lopez, who also had a documentary at Tribeca this year. The comparisons continued when he and Allen Iverson were selected three picks apart in the lottery of the 1996 NBA draft. Those who recall their battles remember how it was always must-see TV.

As time went by, it became apparent that Marbury was slipping into a deep depression. but when his father died in 2007, the bottom fell out of Steph’s life and it appeared that the NBA would soon be an afterthought. It also details just how badly he and former head coach Larry Brown got along.

But redemption is a theme is Marbury’s life, and the film documents this through Steph’s rebirth as an international superstar in China and how its people’s appreciation of him was the impetus for a spiritual alignment and level of emotional satisfaction he could have never imagined.

Filled with seldom seen, or barely used, footage from Marbury’s high school days up through his time in China, A Kid From Coney Island is a complimentary and well-rounded view of who Marbury actually is.

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