If you were to ask most NBA fans about Stephon Marbury they would likely talk first about his many feuds with the different coaches he played for before they'd talk about the man's skill on the basketball court. Like many talented players, he let his pride and ego take him right out of the league that he worked so hard to make it to his whole life.
Most players would have cried about how they didn't understand why they were not getting calls from any teams (right TerrellOwens?). They'd go on to whatever camera was pointing at them about how they are just waiting for the right opportunity to show what they can do.
Translation—I want a team that revolved around me and lets me do whatever I d*mn well please (right Allen Iverson?).
Marbury did not do that. Instead, he went somewhere else to play—China. In his time there he has not only managed to capture a championship title, but the hearts of basketball fans across the country.
Since he joined the Shanxi Brave Dragons in January 2010 he has been one of the marquee players of the Chinese Basketball Association. In just 15 games that season he averaged 22.5 points and 9.5 rebounds, easily better than any year he had in the NBA. Three years later he has made three all-star teams, been the MVP of one all-star game, and led his team (the Beijing Ducks) to the 2012 CBA championship.
The only reason why he wasn't the Finals MVP after averaging 33.4 points during the series was because he wasn't from China (the Finals MVP must be born in China).
An easy argument could be made that the only reason why he is doing so well is that he is finally with a team that will let him do what he wants and is bending to his will; I don't know. The more likely argument is that he has finally learned what it takes to be a good teammate since he had to work harder than ever before just to have a conversation with someone let alone play a game with them.
It is clear that the people see something in him that fans in the NBA were never quite able to do. Since he was not allowed to be the Finals MVP, HoopChina.com started a petition to get his contribution to the game recognized anyway. In just a week it got over one million signatures.
That's right—one million. The man is now getting a statue; yep—a statue.
If players or kids want someone to look up to they could do a lot worse than Stephon Marbury. He is a true example that with hard work and determination you can find your place in the world and thrive, be it in Minnesota, New Jersey, Phoenix, New York, or China.
Thanks Stephon. Xie xie.
Article by Travis Pulver