Minnesota basketball fans may cringe at any mention of former Timberwolves star Stephon Marbury. While on the other side of the world, Marbury is beloved by millions.
In China, two statues were erected in honor of Marbury. Around the corner from Tiananmen Square in the center of Beijing is the Marbury museum. There was a musical, in which Marbury starred, centered on his life story. On Wednesday, Marbury debuted the trailer for the Chinese movie he will star in titled “My other home.”
Marbury is a megastar in the Chinese Basketball Association. He led the Beijing Ducks to their first franchise championship in 2012 and three titles in four years. The nation’s capital has shown its appreciation by giving Marbury all the fame and recognition he was never fully attained in the NBA.
Marbury was the two-time NBA All-Star and averaged 19.3 points and 7.6 assists during his 13-year career with five teams. His career began to turn sour when he demanded the Timberwolves trade him in 1999. Later in his career, he was benched in New York and then played a supporting role off the bench in Boston before stepping away from the game in 2009.
Eight years later, Marbury has rebuilt his basketball career.
The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears, who traveled to China last year to tell Marbury’s story, described the 40-year-old New York native as a “Jordanesque” basketball figure in Beijing.
Marbury has a Chinese postage stamp, has been honored by the local government and has a Chinese green card. Spears wrote, “Marbury is quite possibly the most popular African-American in the city’s history and likely the country, too.”
China’s Yao Ming, the former NBA star, doesn’t even have a statue in the nation’s capital.
Marbury has played six seasons in CBA and announced in February he would retire after the 2017-2018 season.
“Well family next season I’m back but it’s my last go around,” Marbury tweeted. “Next year is the #masterpieceseason. Everything I’ve learned will go into it all.”
Marbury told The Undefeated he believed his problems in the NBA began when he demanded to be traded from the Timberwolves and left behind Kevin Garnett. Marbury said he wanted to leave Minnesota because of the winters were too cold and the roads were too dangerous.
“I remember those days when it wasn’t fun with what I contributed on and off the court,” Marbury said. “I thought the league was mad about me messing up their money in Minnesota.”
The IMDB description of Marbury’s upcoming movie, scheduled to be released July in China, read “The story of Stephon Marbury's fall from the NBA and journeying to rediscover his passion in China.”
The movie will feature cameos from former NBA stars Baron Davis and Allen Iverson.