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Stephon Marbury Becomes the King of Beijing after Leading Ducks to CBA Crown

Marbury keeps his word and delivers Beijing its first CBA title

Marbury keeps his word and delivers Beijing its first CBA title

In early 2010, when news started to circulate around the internet that two-time NBA All-Star Stephon Marbury had signed with a team in the Chinese Basketball Association many thought that would most likely be the last they would hear of the player who was highly touted going back to his high school days in New York.

Stepping onto the NBA stage after being picked fourth in the 1996 draft, it seemed that he was destined to be one of the brightest superstars in the league. Teaming up with Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett and guiding the Minnesota Timberwolves to their first ever playoff appearance showed that he belonged among the big names and his future would only get better.

However, a trade from the up and coming T-Wolves to the New Jersey Nets after one season and further moves to the Phoenix Suns, the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics made people look at the former Georgia Tech star in a different light. Many fans, basketball critics and his own cousin would deem him “selfish”. Coming into conflict with coaches and management during his time with the Knicks pretty much put the writing on the wall for his basketball career in the U.S.

Then came the move to China.

The fledgling Chinese league may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and perhaps only a few can remember any foreign players that have stayed longer than one season (former Guangdong Southern Tigers center Jason Dixon comes to mind), but it is a league that gives players the opportunity to show off their talents and hopefully land with a team in the “Association” or the Euroleague.

Brief stops with the Shanxi Brave Dragons and the Foshan Dralions ended up with the Brooklyn native signing with the Beijing Ducks in 2011, a critical signing for the the capital team after the Steve Francis fiasco from the previous year.

As a sportswriter it is always difficult to predict how a team will fare before the season starts, but for some reasons there seemed to be a good feeling about how the capital team would play during the 2011/12 season. The 13-game winning streak at the start of the season gave a strong indication as to how Marbury’s influence on the team would be crucial to a long run in the playoffs. Although Min Lulei is the head coach of the Ducks, Marbury played more of what can be termed as an associate head coach. Giving pointers and instructions to teammates on the court during games and during practice, showing confidence and a never quit attitude when the team went through losing streaks and his work ethic seemed to rub off on everyone and made the team work harder.

The first championship for the Ducks is well-deserved and although credit must go to the coaching staff, Marbury must be added into the equation when this is talked about years from now.

For all of Marbury’s exploits on the court, what the western media has not seen is what the man also known as Starbury has done off the court in China. Whether it’s visiting a sick child in the hospital, attending a Beijing Guo’an match or taking the subway to practice, Marbury has rebuilt his image and has become a hero to many sports fans in Beijing.

Many foreign import players have come and left the CBA during its existence, but no player has had as much of an impact on the league than Stephon Marbury. He has truly become the king of Beijing in the eyes of those fans in attendance at the Mastercard Center on Friday, March 31.

Hopefully Ducks fans will treasure his exploits on the court in the few years he may have left before he goes on to his ultimate dream of coaching China’s men’s national basketball team.

Photos

China Daily

Additional Articles

  • New York Times – Stephon Marbury Leads Beijing Ducks To Chinese Title
  • New York Times – Stephon Marbury Finding Success And Serenity In China
  • China.org – Interview With Stephon Marbury
  • China Daily – Marbury: I Keep Promise
  • Sheridan Hoops – Marbury Wins Title, Wants To Coach Chinese National Team
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