Marbury: from NBA player to idol in China
Famous basketball players can be idolized by their fans. Some players, like Steph Curry and Tristan Thompson receive ‘keys to the city’. Others, like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, even got their own personalized sneakers. And on top of that, players, like Shaquille O’Neal and Larry Bird, even get the great honor to be memorialized in the form of a statue. There are also players who have several of these. But, there is always someone who is just a little better than others. No, in this case it is not about MJ, but about the former NBA-player Stephon Marbury.
Marbury, or Starbury as he is also called, played in the NBA for 15 years and was even voted an NBA All-Star twice, in 2001 and 2003. In 2009, he turned down a veteran’s contract with the Boston Celtics, at age 31, and decided to move to China to begin a new chapter in his life. In his first game overseas, still jetlagged from the flight over, he scored 15 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 steals. This was a great beginning of his career in this new country.
Now, seven years later, he is a permanent Chinese resident and a very famous celebrity in China. Marbury is even considered to be the best foreign player to ever play in the CBA, and he has been voted as an All-Star 6 times (2010-2015, 2017). In 2012, Starbury lead the Beijing Ducks to the first out of three championships (2012, 2014, 2015). After that championship, a statue of Marbury was revealed near the Olympic Stadium in Beijing. Since then, he is memorialized in another statue in front of the Ducks’ practice arena AND there is an entire Marbury museum. Furthermore, there was even a musical that was centered on his life, he has his own postage stamp and he has been called a role model several times.
Even though he has a very successful career in China, Marbury made it clear he wants to return to the NBA after the 2017-2018 season to be able to retire in style. By then, Marbury will have passed the age of 40.