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Marbury’s new extension shows his commitment to basketball’s development in China

Post by Kenya Brown 

October 18, 2013

Chinese Basketball Association (CBA)


Stephon Marbury will keep playing in the CBA for at laest another three years.

The recent announcement of Stephon Marbury’s three-year contract with the Beijing Ducks, which came prior to the team’s exhibition game against Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid, really came as no surprise to anyone who has followed the league over the last four years. It has been the New York native’s ambition to finish his career in China.

In fact, if anyone has followed Marbury’s career since he joined the capital team in the 2011-12 season this is a just a sign of not only his commitment to the Ducks, but also a very strong commitment to the development of the game in China.

It is not often that a foreign import in the CBA has such a big impact on basketball in the Middle Kingdom. It is also rare to hear of foreign players staying in the league for such a long period of time. Former Guangdong Southern Tigers center Jason Dixon comes to mind as he spent several seasons with the southerners and helped them win five CBA crowns before he called it a career in 2009. So adored was the Liberty University alum by both the Guangdong staff and fans that his No. 15 jersey was retired by the team at the end of the 2008-09 season; only the second player after Yao Ming to receive the honor. Since then, he has spent time with the club as an assistant coach, helping with both the senior and youth teams on the individual skills development side.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are big-name players who came with promises of big-time splashes only to leave after a short time after, such as Steve Francis who arrived in the league with much fanfare, but fizzled and abruptly left after a few games. Tracy McGrady and Gilbert Arenas spent the season in the league, but neither really made the impact that so many thought they could.

McGrady, for his part, had difficulty winning games with the Qingdao Double Star Eagles as well as his alleged payment demands for unscheduled interviews. Meanwhile, Arenas’ injuries prevented him from having any impact on the Shanghai Sharks’ season as they failed to make the playoffs.

Foreign players have come and left China’s fledgling professional basketball league and some have left positive impressions even if they have only stayed for a season. However, it is Marbury who has had the bigger impact during his tenure in the league which has also seen him also play for Shanxi Brave Dragons and the Foshan Long Lions.

It has not only been his performances on the court that have left a deep impression on basketball fans, it has also been his demeanor off the court that has caught the attention of many. Whether it is taking the subway to practice, visiting sick children at hospitals or visiting schools to provide basketball clinics, the four-time CBA All-Star has done more than many foreign imports during his stay in China.

Marbury has also shown the qualities of being a great coach in future as he has taken up the role during the Ducks’ practices and games. This of course has to be a great benefit to the team’s head coach Min Lulei who has stated on various occasions that Marbury is “irreplaceable” to the team. There is no doubt that his drive and determination to win has pushed his teammates to do the same.

With the new season approaching and the Ducks reloading their roster with new signings such as Chinese national team forward Sun Yue, much of the scoring pressure will be taken off of the former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket. However, he will be on the court playing just as hard as he has in previous seasons as his team looks to add to the CBA title they shockingly won in the 2011-12 season.

While this three-year contract maybe the final playing contract Marbury will ever sign he will forever have a lasting impression on basketball in China. This will certainly carry over to when he decides to pursue a career in coaching and there will be no complaints from Ducks’ fans when he is finally handed the reins to coach the team in the future.

The bigger moment will come when he is able to finally achieve his dream of coach the Chinese men’s national basketball team.



6 Responses to “Marbury’s new extension shows his commitment to basketball’s development in China”

  1. James Howden Says:

    Nice piece, though it might be a tad kind to mention his “commitment to Chinese basketball” without any reference to his commercial interests here. Correct me if I’m wrong, but he moves a LOT of shoes and other gear here, in a way that he never would have back in the States. Also, I’m curious: we hear the stories of his attendance at football matches, and of course his legendary riding of the subway, as if these are regular occurrences, just part of the way he lives his life. Pardon my skepticism, but that subway story seems like one of those often-repeated tales that make a one-off photo-op (two-off, three-off…) into the foundation of myth. I’m an idealist at heart, so I’d love to know of the millionaire as common “man of the people”.

    As for coaching, we might want to slow down. Jason Kidd is making that transition, and seems pretty humble about it (he’ll be relying on former head coach Lawrence Frank a lot). Still, the list of star players who’ve become great coaches is pretty short, in all sports. We chronically underrate coaches, and Kidd, for one, has spoken about how he needs to learn to see the game in an entirely different way, one that Frank has decades of experience with. So, it’s a nice idea, but it seems exceedingly unlikely, despite his on-court smarts.


    • Kenya Says:

      I cannot speak about the shoe sales for Marbury, James, as I am not really interested in that part although you do make a valid point about that. However, I would say that many things that he has done here in China would never happen if he were still playing in the NBA in the United States. Now I am not sure how many times he has taken the subway to practice, and he has probably had to stop now because it would just overload Line 1, which it already is now, but this is something that would never happen if he was still in the States or in Europe. I have never spoken with him (and hopefully he will grant an interview one day if he reads my email or private message on Weibo), but I can tell how much he has changed from the brash, almost narcissistic person he was to a much more humble individual.

      As for coaching, I don’t mean to imply that once he retires he will just fall into a head coaching spot like Jason Kidd. Of course if he wants to coach in China, he will most likely be appointed as an assistant coach with the plan to move him into a head coaching spot. I highly doubt this would immediately happen for Marbury, and proof of this is going on with the Guangdong Southern Tigers as Jonas Kazlauskas is “head coach” of the team while Du Feng gains some experience before totally taking over. However, I think he has a good enough reputation in China that the Ducks or perhaps another team would consider appointing him as head coach in the future.

      I do stand by my statement that he is committed to the growth of basketball in China and if you do a search on the Internet for any interviews he has done in the past he does mention how much he wants to contribute to the development of the game here. We cannot say that for many of the foreign imports that have graced their presence in the CBA.


  2. Jay K. Says:

    Wait beijing ducks played real madrid? someone please give me a link to this game so i can watch or a torrent file, please!!!!


  3. Real truth Says:

    Marbury does not ride the subway – that was a one time bet that he made into a photo op! Marbury has not changed at all from the NBA player – he is just not held accountable in China. He is all love is love when the TV cameras are on, but when they are off he acts very differently about his situation in China. He cares about the money and the nonaccountability / freedom he has



  1. Stephon Marbury; the road to three CBA titles – Basketball Buddha - March 24, 2015

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