After A Roller Coaster NBA Career, Stephon Marbury Just Made History In China

basketball | 12/27/18

Stephon Marbury was one of the most skilled point guards the NBA has ever seen. He was a two-time NBA All-Star during his 13-year tenure in the league. Marbury may not have won any championships or received many accolades, but his life post-NBA is where the guard really shined. After heading to China to play in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), he brought his team the Beijing Ducks three championships. His popularity in the foreign country is so high that they built a statue of him outside the Ducks’ arena. However, that doesn’t compare to the award that Marbury was recently honored with…

Gifted Since Youth

New York has a reputation for breeding some of the finest basketball players in the world. Marbury grew up in the projects of Coney Island, Brooklyn. At 11, he was named the best sixth grader in the world by a basketball recruiting magazine.

Marbury was so gifted, he would yell at opposing coaches to put someone on the court who could actually guard him. People flocked to Madison Square Garden to watch him play. By the time he made it to high school, many believed he was the best point guard in the nation…

Draft Day

draft marbury
STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images
STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

Marbury went on to play one year at Georgia Tech University. After getting eliminated in the semi-finals of the NCAA tournament, he decided it was his time to declare for the NBA draft.

Marbury was in the same draft class with the likes of Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Ray Allen, and many more Hall of Famers. To put in perspective how valued he was, the Milwaukee Bucks chose him at 4th overall ahead of the aforementioned names. However, he wouldn’t stay long in Milwaukee…

Breaking News

wolves
Sporting News via Getty Images
Sporting News via Getty Images

With the click of a finger, Marbury was shipped to the Minnesota Timberwolves on draft night. The Wolves gave the Bucks their fifth pick, which was Ray Allen. This set up a duo that the Wolves thought would be perfect together.

The year before this draft, the Timberwolves selected future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett. The GM envisioned a Karl Malone-John Stockton type of deal with Marbury and Garnett. There were all the makings for a championship team…

The Up-And-Coming Wolves

marbury wolves
Otto Greule /Allsport
Otto Greule /Allsport

Marbury ran the team as their court general. With Garnett and Tom Gugliotta, the Wolves finished with a record of 40-42. With that, they made it to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history!

Once the playoffs started, they played a hard-fought first round against the Houston Rockets. The Timberwolves lost that matchup, but they loved Marbury’s performance. He averaged 15.8 points and 7.8 assists as he fearlessly attacked the rim and veteran defenders. Then, everything changed…

Big Pay Day

garnett
Tony Marshall/EMPICS via Getty Images
Tony Marshall/EMPICS via Getty Images

After that season ended, Garnett signed a contract extension worth more than the team’s selling price. He wasn’t nicknamed “The Big Ticket” for no reason, after all. Marbury understood why he deserved this huge contract, but began to wonder if there would be anything left for the franchise to give him.

In just his second season, Marbury began campaigning for a lucrative deal as well. He also let them know that he would walk if the couldn’t couldn’t get it done. Can you guess how that played out?

Rising To The Occasion

When you talk the talk, it’s only right to walk the walk. Marbury stepped up his game during his second year and helped lead the Timberwolves to their first winning record in franchise history (45-37). Unfortunately, they got knocked out of the first round of the playoffs again.

Marbury couldn’t hold in his frustrations any longer. He complained about the harsh weather in Minnesota and about his desire to play in a larger market. Losing in the first round didn’t help any of this. Coaches knew this was more about the money Garnett had just made. Still, they offered him a generous contract…

Offer Declined

nets bury
David Leeds /Allsport
David Leeds /Allsport

Stephon Marbury publicly stated that he could not be on the same floor with Kevin Garnett, knowing his teammate was making so much more than him. That’s why he declined his six-year, $71 million offer. He instantly became the poster boy for greed and stupidity in the NBA.

Only 18 games into Marbury’s third year, the Timberwolves pulled off a three-way deal that sent Marbury to the New Jersey Nets. It wasn’t the Knicks, the team he had said he would like to play for, but it was close enough.

Winning Mentality In Question

suns bury
GEORGE FREY/AFP/Getty Images
GEORGE FREY/AFP/Getty Images

Due to Marbury wanting to leave a contender because he wasn’t making as much as his teammate, many questioned his willingness to win. After two season with the Nets, they never once made the playoffs. He was then traded to the Phoenix Suns.

In his four seasons with the Suns, the team only made the playoffs twice and were handed eliminations in the first round both times. After his final season with the team, Marbury received a trade to the team he always wanted to play for.

Not Good In The Mecca

knicks marbury
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The losses kept stacking up for Marbury and the Knicks. Soon enough, he became frustrated with the organization and coaching staff. The first coach he got fired was Larry Brown. After Brown, Isiah Thomas got the boot thanks to Marbury.

After five seasons with the Knicks, the team never made the playoffs and the highest they finished was 12th in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks ended up buying out Marbury in 2009. That’s when the Boston Celtics offered Marbury a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum. The unthinkable happened next…

Taking A Break

marbury (2)
VCG/VCG via Getty Images
VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Marbury would turn down the offer to play for the Celtics in order to take at least a year off from the game he loved. Something that many aren’t aware of about Marbury is that he is very charitable.

Not only did Marbury help his large family and loved ones, but he also donated millions to organizations to help strangers. After the events of 9/11, he gave $250,000 to victims of the attack in New York City.

Help After The Hurricane

katrina
Brian Ach/WireImage for Chopard
Brian Ach/WireImage for Chopard

Hurricane Katrina was one of the deadliest natural disasters America has ever had to deal with. After the destruction, Marbury donated between $500,000 and $1,000,000 to assist the victims in 2005. Then, in 2007 he gave $4,000,000 to New York City to help with their public service organizations.

That was $1,000,000 for each of the NYPD, FDNY, EMT, and the NYC Teacher’s Fund. As great as that sounds, his real passion was helping underprivileged children…

The Starbury

for the kids
Contributor/Getty Images
Contributor/Getty Images

Marbury took things to another level in 2006 when he partnered with Steve&Barry’s. The partnership brought forth a clothing and shoe line called “Starbury.” While every other NBA player with a shoe deal sold their sneakers for well over $100, Marbury elected to sell his for only $14.98.

He wanted the kids to remain fashionable while keeping their pockets intact. Sadly, Steve & Barry’s filed for bankruptcy, but Marbury started Starbury.com to host his products. You can buy the shoes today for only $19.98.

Marbury Signs With The Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons

marbury playing in china
VCG/VCG via Getty Images
VCG/VCG via Getty Images

It only took a few months for Marbury to pick back up the game he loves since his childhood. In January 2010, Marbury announced he signed with the Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons for the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA).

He played his first game while battling jet lag and put up 15 points, four rebounds, and eight assists in only 28 minutes. Marbury averaged 22.9 points and 9.5 assists per game that season, but the team couldn’t reach the playoffs. In July of that same year, he signed a three-year deal to remain on the Brave Dragons.

Marbury Shines Bright

In 2011, Marbury joined the Beijing Ducks. During that season, Marbury led the Ducks to a 13-0 start to their season. He made the All-Star team and even brought the team to the playoffs, something he hadn’t done before. Marbury was playing unbelievably, averaging 45 points in the playoffs, and the team went on the CBA Finals to face the seven-time champions the Guangdong Southern Tigers.

The Ducks did the unthinkable while led by Marbury and they won the championship! Following that victory in May 2012, a statue of Marbury was erected on the lawn of the Mastercard Center in Beijing.

Add Another One

second champ
STR/AFP/Getty Images
STR/AFP/Getty Images

A few years later, Marbury and the Ducks won another championship, March 2014. As if that wasn’t enough, the next season, the Ducks won one more title and Marbury received his first ever CBA Finals MVP award.

Around that time, Marbury applied for his Chinese green card. A live-action musical called “I am Marbury” came about that told the story of an underdog overcoming many hurdles. IT starred Marbury as he danced and acted awkwardly.

Keeping Charitable

stephon marbury
VCG/VCG via Getty Images
VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Marbury’s new-found success didn’t detour him from his charitable ways. In fact, he only gave more to charities in China. Some would slow down the roll they’re on once they found new success, but that wasn’t the case for Marbury.

Due to his undying love for giving back to others, China decided to give Marbury something that no other foreign celebrity ever has received since the nation’s beginning. What could it have been?

Becoming A Citizen

marbury-china
VCG/VCG via Getty Images
VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Marbury’s green card application got approved! The Chinese “green card” is unbelievably hard to obtain. About 5,000 foreigners have received permanent resident credentials since China launched its own green card system in 2004 out of the 600,000 foreigners who reside in the country.

“I’m so blessed and thankful to receive my Chinese green card,” Marbury wrote on his Twitter-like Weibo account. “Being the first foreign basketball player to receive a green card means a lot in making history in China.”

Plans With The Green Card

marbury plans
VCG/VCG via Getty Images
VCG/VCG via Getty Images

The green card he received is valid across China, but certain cities like Beijing and Shanghai have their own rules about how to obtain one. In Beijing, eligible people include big investors, science and tech experts, business executives, and others who “have made outstanding contributions” to China.

Marbury qualifies for that final option, thanks to his charity work and willingness to help the community in Beijing. Marbury says the green card is super important to him and he has plans on how to use it…

Expanding His Business

big deals marbury
VCG/VCG via Getty Images
VCG/VCG via Getty Images

“It just added more legality part to being able to do investments,” Marbury told state media China Daily, “and to bring business here legitimately, and then to buy a house, and to buy a car, to do little different things in Beijing.”

If you remember correctly, Marbury already had his “Starbury” business back in America. Starbury was probably what was on his mind and with his Chinese connections, the brand could now expand in a different country. He does plan to retire from basketball soon and become a coach…

The House Of Marbury Museum

marbury's home
VCG/VCG via Getty Images
VCG/VCG via Getty Images

After Marbury won his second title, Beijing built an entire museum dedicated to the kid from New York. It’s near Tiananmen Square and they call it “The House of Marbury Museum.” It sounds like China really loves Marbury and what he’s done.

Not long ago, there was also a film released, called My Other Home. It starred Marbury. It was a biopic of him and his great accomplishments, like bringing Beijing their first ever CBA title over the Guangdong Southern Tigers.

The New Marbury

Marbury wolf
VCG/VCG via Getty Images
VCG/VCG via Getty Images

He used to be called the lone wolf during his NBA career. However, once he came to China, his life was basically rehabilitated and his nickname given to him in his new country reflects that. They call him “Political Commissar Ma.”

It roughly means a Chinese military official surnamed Ma (sounds like Mar), who inspects, educates, disciplines and unites his soldiers. In America while in the NBA, Marbury was far from this type of person and player. He is now.

Issues With His

isiah marbury
Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images
Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

We briefly touched on earlier how legend and former NBA coach got fired thanks to Stephon Marbury, but we didn’t say how. Back in 2007, Marbury learned that Thomas was going to bench him and that’s when Marbury confronted the former coach.

After the confrontation, he told his teammates, “Isiah has to start me. I’ve got so much [expletive] on Isiah and he knows it. He thinks he can [expletive] me. But I’ll [expletive] him first. You have no idea what I know.” Survey says he knew a lot!

Support For Vick

vicck
Prince Williams/WireImage
Prince Williams/WireImage

After the Michael Vick fighting dogs scandal took place, it was like no one supported Vick. Sure, he had his loved ones, but many of his fans and those in the media jumped off his bandwagon as quickly as they hopped on it. One person who showed support was Marbury.

Marbury felt it was hypocritical that hunuters could kill other animals for sport, but it was fine to give Vick prison timefor participating in his “sport.”

Marbury Almost Did Italy

marbury wife
Shareif Ziyadat/FilmMagic
Shareif Ziyadat/FilmMagic

Marbury almost didn’t become a legend in China. Before traveling to there, he considered going to Italy because his wife liked going there a lot. “I’m not just thinking of doing it, I’m going to do it,” Marbury vowed. “My wife loved it there. It’s like a [David] Beckham thing.”

He said it was a lot like a Beckham thing comparing it to how the soccer star came to America for his sport. The only difference, Marbury isn’t as big as Beckham was.

Banned!

marbury arena
James Devaney/WireImage
James Devaney/WireImage

During his stint with the New York Knicks, Stephon Marbury ended up getting banned from Knicks practices and games. This was only until they could get him to sign the contract buyout so they could send him somewhere else.

As a joke, Marbury bought courtside tickets to see the Los Angeles Lakers play the Knicks but at Staples Center in L.A. He wanted to see them play all while making things uncomfortable for others that were there.

Caught Smoking?

smoke marbury
Arnaldo Magnani/Getty Images
Arnaldo Magnani/Getty Images

Not every athlete stays away from drugs even though their coaches and people close to them prefer that they did. At least Marbury is honest with his consumption of cannibus. TMZ posted a video of what appeared to be Marbury blazing in the car while being chauffeured.

After the video made some headlines, Marbury told the site that he does get high occasionally because he’s not under any contract. This was in 2009 when that was the case.

Marbury radio
VCG/VCG via Getty Images
VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Can you imagine what a day in the life of Marbury was like before he transitioned over to China? It was wild, to say the least, and he broadcasted his life 24/7 back in 2009 on the live stream website Justin.tv.

His days included erotic dancers dancing topless, crying to gospel legend Kirk Franklin, and eating Vaseline to help find a home remedy for a sore throat. None of this sounds like an ordinary person’s agenda.

Marbury Was Depressed

marbury depressed
VCG/VCG via Getty Images
VCG/VCG via Getty Images

During the time he was eating Vaseline to find a sore throat remedy (2009), this was also the time his NBA career was near its end. The sport he had been on top of for so long was no longer the game for him.

He felt trapped in thoughts about how he felt he was being treated. HIs wife said he would isolate himself in his room and eat Fruity Pebbles all day. Marbury has admitted that he was clinically depressed and suicidal at this juncture of his life.

The Passing Of His Father

marbury dad
Shareif Ziyadat/FilmMagic
Shareif Ziyadat/FilmMagic

Losing a loved one is always hard. On Dec. 2, 2007, Marbury’s father passed away during a game between the Knicks and the Phoenix Suns. His dad was at the game when he had to be taken away due to chest pains.

The locker room stayed locked for about half an hour after the game as players were still in shock. They gave Marbury permission not to address any media, but as he left he shouted to someone, “Jesus, that’s how.”

Co-Authoring A Book

marbury book
amazon.com
amazon.com

Back in 2007, Marbury helped write a book with Marshall Dean that was illustrated by Ryan Nakai. The book is about how Marbury had the chance to beat a rival team, but he missed two free throws.

As the story goes on, his brother tells him to perfect his game through practice. When the end of the book arrives, he has another chance to beat the nemesis school, but this time it was for the championship! All of the proceeds went to charity.

Top 10 Model Citizen

marbury cover
VCG/VCG via Getty Images
VCG/VCG via Getty Images

You read that correctly. The only thing is, we’re not talking top ten in America, but in Beijing. In 2014, Beijing named Marbury a Top 10 Model Citizen. His undying commitment to the community and all his charity work was the reason why.

He was doing everything giving back related as best as he could. All of this happened before he even became a permanent resident in China as well. His work was just too great to go unnoticed.

All-Star Every Year

Marbury all star
XIN LI/Getty Images
XIN LI/Getty Images

Marbury may not have made the NBA All-Star team that much while he was in America, which is something that probably doesn’t matter to him at all anymore. While playing in China, he was an all-star every single year.

During his career, he averaged 22.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 6.3 assists. Those numbers throughout a career are enough to cement you as a all-star and a legend in the making. These numbers also all exceeded his NBA output. Which is probably why he only made it twice in the NBA.

He Got Game Is Roughly Based On Marbury

he got game
20th Century-Fox/Getty Images
20th Century-Fox/Getty Images

The classic basketball film starring Ray Allen and Denzel Washington has an interesting influence behind it. It basically takes the outline of what Marbury did to make it to the NBA. the main character and Marbury both grew up in Coney Island and attended Abraham High School.

Both Kevin Garnett and Marbury were in consideration for the role, but Spike Lee had other plans once their management wanted to work the contracts differently. That’s how Allen ended up with the part.

Two-Time MVP Winner

2 mvps
VCG/VCG via Getty Images
VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Earlier we brought up one of the MVP’s Marbury won while playing in China, but did we mention he has two under his belt? Marbury won both the foreign MVP and CBA Finals MVP.

The reward was well deserved as he averaged 29.5 points per game the season he won the foreign MVP honor. Even by NBA standards that is a really high scoring average, so for Marbury to do this overseas in his late age is impressive.

Married To College Sweetheart

stephon wife
Shareif Ziyadat/FilmMagic
Shareif Ziyadat/FilmMagic

How many people are lucky enough to find the person they will be with for the rest of their lives early in their lifetimes? Some marry their high school sweethearts, while others wait until college to propose to the loves of their lives.

Marbury falls into the latter category. He married his college sweetheart Tasha Marbury. They share three children together, Xaviera Marbury, Stephon Marbury, Jr., and Stephanie Marbury. Will he add more to the group while in China?

Career Averages For The NBA

career averages
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Marbury was on the verge of accomplishing something only one other player in NBA history has accomplished. NBA legend Oscar Robertson averaged 20 points and eight assists. He is the only one to do that.

Marbury was on pace to complete the same feat and join that elusive club. Instead, Marbury finished his NBA career just shy of that mark. His career totals were 19.3 points and 7.6 assists. Maybe another season or two could have helped him.

Early Recruitment Of KG

garnett recruit
PAUL BUCK/AFP/Getty Images
PAUL BUCK/AFP/Getty Images

As we know, Marbury attended Georgia Tech. The moment after he committed, he urged for them to recruit high school stud Kevin Garnett. Before the two became teammates in the NBA, they had met at a basketball camp.

Georgia Tech declined to recruit due to Garnett’s poor test scores. That wouldn’t end up mattering because Garnett got drafted straight out of high school. Garnett and Marybury would end up playing together shortly either way it went.

Marbury On Mike’d Up

drunk during interview
VCG/VCG via Getty Images
VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Mike’d Up used to air in the New York Metropolitan area that ended in 2011. It was a Sunday late-night sports talk show that Marbury once had the pleasure of being on. During his interview, it was clear that Marbury wasn’t his true self.

It was like Marbury was drugged up of mentally unstable. This happened back in 2007 as he was making incoherent statements, breaking into dance and even answering the phone while the show was on air.

Georgia Tech Great

college days
Doug Pensinger/ALLSPORT
Doug Pensinger/ALLSPORT

Georgia Tech has had some great basketball players play for their university. Chris Bosh, Mark Price, and Dennis Scott are a few names to mention. Marbury is considered one of the best freshmen to ever put on one of their jerseys.

The star freshman Marbury ended up posting the fifth-highest scoring total for an ACC freshman. Being top five in any least like that is a major accomplishment. Especially for a point guard, who’s first instincts are usually to get other players involved before trying to score.

Playing Better When It Matters

Marbury (3)
VCG/VCG via Getty Images
VCG/VCG via Getty Images

You know his career averages while in China, but those numbers don’t include what he did in the playoffs. The playoffs need a win or go home mentality and that’s what Marbury had while in China.

Marbury was determined to take his team to the CBA Finals no matter what. In his series against the Shanxi Brave Dragons, he would average 40 points! He started the first three games by scoring 42, 52, and 53 points respectively. Winning this series sent his team to their first ever finals.