Leaving Boston Celtics in 2009, many doubted that Stephon Marbury will ever appear in professional basketball again. For coaches and managers,the 4th pick coming out of the 1996 draft was much of a problem: Marbury had a terrible relationship with his coaches and the management during his days at the New York Knicks. Leaving the NBA at the age of 32, very few people saw the possibility of Stephon Marbury picking up his games in another country’s professional league.
Ten years later, after concluding his professional playing career with a high note, Stephon Marbury made a swift transformation to the coaching position. Earlier this week, the basketball legend signed a coaching contract with the Beijing Royal Fighters and will be acting as head coach for this new professional team. In 2018, Stephon Marbury retired from this team and concluded his professional basketball playing career with an average of 14.9 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game in his final season with the Royal Fighters, formerly known as the Beijing Flying Dragons.
The Royal Fighters has had huge struggles in the 2018-2019 season. The team finished with a record of 8-38 and ranked last in the regular season. The Royal Fighters hope to see positive changes under the leadership of Stephon Marbury and wish to enter the playoffs in the coming season.
“Thank you for the opportunity. I will give everything I have on the sidelines just like I gave everything inside the lines.” Marbury said on Twitter-style social media Weibo: “I’m back Beijing, I’m back Chinese basketball. I’ll be coaching Beikong Royal Fighter Basketball Club next season! See you guys in 2019/2020 season! ”
After a series of disappointments in the NBA, Stephon Marbury started his overseas professional career in China with the Chinese Basketball Association team Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons in 2010. The two-time NBA All-star played 15 games for Shanxi, and dropped an average of 22.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 9.5 assists per game. Marbury later played for another CBA team Foshan Dralions before signing with the prominent Beijing-based basketball team Beijing Ducks and started his rejuvenation journey in the Chinese capital city.
Prior to Marbury’s arrival, the Chinese Basketball Association was dominated by the Guangzhou based powerhouse GuangDong Southern Tigers. From 2004 to 2011, Guangzhou Southern Tigers won seven CBA titles in the eight-season period. Stephon Marbury started with the Beijing Ducks in the 2011-2012 season, carried the team to the CBA finals, and ultimately defeated the long-time champion 4-1 in a best-of-7 series. Marbury finished his 2011-2012 season with one of the best stats in his playing career in China, averaging 27.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game.
Marbury played for the Beijing Ducks for six seasons, before wrapping up his professional career with the Beijing Royal fighters. After winning the CBA champion in 2012, Marbury won another two championships with the Ducks in 2014 and 2015. Marbury was selected to the CBA all-star team six times and won the 2015 CBA Final MVP title, making him one of the most successful foreign players in the Chinese basketball league. Marbury’s autobiographical movie, My Other Home, was released in 2017. The movie documented Stephon Marbury’s playing career and focused on his effort to rebuild the Beijing Duck Dynasty.
Despite having the intention to return to the NBA, the New York native did not have the opportunity to return to the American Basketball League as a professional player. Marbury’s coaching experience may open a new door for the once-promising NBA player to return to the league, perhaps as a coach, sometime in the future. Back in 2016, Stephon Marbury had some rough relation with the NBA and the former commissioner David Stern. Marbury said that the NBA ‘Didn’t Want Him’. Later in 2019, the current NBA commissioner Adam Silver met with Marbury and praised him of becoming a trailblazer.
One year after retiring from professional playing career, Stephon Marbury now step on a new journey in coaching. The CBA legend once said that he wants to coach the Chinese national basketball team, with his first contract in the league, Marbury is one step closer to his long-term goal after his retirement.
Featured photo credit to shutterstock