I’ve already gone on record bemoaning the NY Times’ ‘Cheering Section’, in particular, the tendency of Vincent Mallozzi to profile the hapless and the witless.

That said, writing of his own personal experiences, Mallozzi turned in a gem today, recalling his attempts to get Stephon Marbury and Patrick Ewing to autograph their respective pages in his 1998 compendium, ‘Basketball : The Legends & The Game’. Ewing’s John Hancock proved elusive, but Starbury came though. Not without some deliberation, however.

Just before Marbury’s game, I introduced myself and we began to chat about basketball. I eventually showed him my book, and asked if he would be kind enough to sign it. He stared at his page as he took my pen, and just before signing, pulled the pen back to his chest as if it had bitten him.

“What’s this all about?” Marbury asked.

“What’s what all about?” I replied.

“I’m the 214th-best N.B.A. player you’ve ever seen?” he said. “Are you kidding me?”

“Oh no,” I assured him. “The names are listed in alphabetical order so as not to create any controversy. You just happen to be on Page 214.”

“Oh,” he said, smiling. “That makes a lot more sense.”

After today’s T-Wolves win over the Knicks, the AP quotes Marbury and KG as both saying they’d be up for a reunion, though neither seems keen on moving to the other’s current team. Which is a shame, as we’re all dying to see more photos like the one above.