After his downfall in the NBA, Stephon Marbury changed the narrative and became a basketball legend in China.
Since news broke that Dwyane Wade has been offered a three-year $25 million deal to play for the Zhejiang Golden Bulls, many have expressed their opinion on why or why not the 12-time NBA all-star should continue his career in China.
Of all the players and analysts who shared their thoughts on the situation, none have been more valuable than that of former NBA star, Stephon Marbury.
Although he would later encourage Wade to make the move due to his endorsement from Chinese apparel company Li-Ning, Marbury, who recently retired from the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), warned him that Zhejiang may not be a fit for his lifestyle.
Despite the indecisive answer he gave on Twitter if anyone has the criteria to say whether Wade should stay in the US or play in China, no one is more qualified than Marbury. Not only did he revise his career, but the success Marbury endured while playing in the CBA made him a basketball icon in China.
After a disappointing stint with the Boston Celtics in 2009, Marbury became the first notable NBA player to take his talents to China after he signed with the Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons in January of 2010.
Despite failing to make the playoffs his first two seasons, Marbury showcased his talents and demonstrated how became a two-time all-star in the NBA. As a member of the Brave Dragons and the Guangzhou Long-Lions in 2011, he averaged 24.0 points, 7.6 assists, and 2.1 steals per games in his first two seasons in the CBA.
However, it would be his move signing with the Beijing Ducks that turned Marbury into the Michael Jordan of China. After starting out the 2012 season with a 13-0 record, he transformed the Ducks from one of the league’s bottom feeders to a dynasty overnight.
With the addition of Marbury, the Ducks won three CBA championships which includes back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015. During their successful run, Marbury received league MVP honors in 2013 and Finals MVP honors in 2015.
He averaged 21.4 points and 5.6 assists during his six-year stint with the Ducks, and the people of China celebrated Marbury’s success better than anyone could have imagined.
The nation honored Marbury with his own statue in front of the Ducks’ home arena. A musical based on his life entitled, “I Am Stephon Marbury.” His own museum devoted to his 22-year basketball career. As well as a Chinese green card where he became one of the most prominent Americans to be granted permanent residence status in China.
After playing one season with the Beijing Fly Dragons, Marbury retired from the game of basketball as a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer due to the success he endured throughout his career. But his greatest accomplishment came by changing the narrative and inspiring other players to play in China.
While Wade ponders his next career move, one former NBA star has decided to join the CBA in hopes of accomplishing half of what Marbury did for eight years.
On Thursday, former Los Angeles Laker and Sixth Man of the Year winner, Lamar Odom, confirmed on Instagram that he has signed to play in China at the start of the 2019 CBA season. In his post, Odom thanked Marbury as his biggest inspiration to continue his career in China.