Stephon Marbury inks a three-year deal with the Beijing Ducks



Image by cheukiecfu via Flickr

For straight 10 seasons ranging from 1996 to 2007, Stephon Marbury was a household name in the basketball stratosphere, but that soon changed in the late 2000’s when his career went down a slippery, vaseline-laden slope in a hurry.

While Marbury always had a poor reputation amongst NBA coaches, someone was always going to take a chance on him as long as he was putting up the gaudy numbers we all grew accustomed to. But as soon as those went, so did his opportunities to play in the big leagues.

After a dismal season with the Boston Celtics in 2009, which saw him average 3.8 points on 34.2 percent shooting in 23 games, Marbury turned down the opportunity to stay in the NBA for the veteran’s minimum and took a unique road back to relevancy by opting to pack his bags and head overseas to play in the Chinese Basketball Association. But back then, the league wasn’t as big as it is now. Players weren’t flocking to China to boost their stock or for a quick pit stop in the way that they are now. And while Marbury had dreams of making it back to the NBA upon jetting off to his new, temporary home, it didn’t take him long to change his mind. After all, within 12 months of turning down another gig with the Celtics, Marbury had gone from being the laughing stock of the NBA to the most popular player in the CBA. Fans welcomed him with open arms. He was treated like a star again. And he ran with it. All the way to the bank.

Now, life couldn’t get much better for Marbury. He’s a CBA champion; he would’ve been an MVP by now had the rules not prevented him of such an honor; the Ducks have built a statue of him in front of their stadium after he led them to a championship last season and just this weekend, he inked a new, three-year deal, which he seems pretty excited about.

But even in 2017 when his latest contract expires, Marbury plans on putting an even bigger stamp on the game of basketball in China by becoming a coach. And if he can continue to improve the league as he has since 2010, well, we may someday forget about the time that he started crying on a live stream while listening to “Lean On Me.” Or maybe even that time he ate Vaseline to treat his strep throat.

Screw it, we’re never forgetting those. But good on you for doing what you’ve done, Marbury, and keep up the good work.

Scott Rafferty