Eight years after his last NBA action, Stephon Marbury is arguably basketball’s biggest star … in China.
The two-time All-Star left the NBA after a string of bizarre incidents, including a 24-hour live stream in which he answered fan questions, cried, and ate Vaseline.
But in China, he’s led the Beijing Ducks to their first three Chinese Basketball Association championships, and the team has erected a statue in his honor. The guy’s already had a Chinese musical made about his life story—that he starred in. And a biopic dropped in August.
— I AM PEACE STAR (@StarburyMarbury) May 24, 2017
All that is to stay—Marbury is a big freaking deal in China.
But according to the 40-year-old, the 2017-18 season will be his last in China before he attempts to return to the NBA.
“Yes, it’s true,” Marbury said in a video posted by TMZ. “An NBA comeback is coming. Love is love.”
Marbury last played in the NBA in 2008-09, when he got into 23 games with the Boston Celtics, averaging 3.8 points on 34.2 percent shooting.
In his last full NBA season, playing for the New York Knicks, Marbury put up 16.4 points and 5.4 assists per game in 2006-07.
This offseason, Marbury turned down an opportunity to coach the Ducks, who then released him. Then he signed with another team in Beijing.
So the story goes like this. I’m staying in Beijing for my last and final season. The other Beijing team. I have to put on for the city no matter the team. It’s a different mission and vision over here in the JING. The fans said stay so I’m staying. They said “we will love you no matter where you go” It’s hard to leave that type of love. Thanking God for another contract! #Blessed by the most high. #loveislove #starbury
“We agreed that I would leave this season and the door is always open to coach,” Marbury told the Undefeated in April. “They had the option for me to play or coach, and they wanted me to coach. It’s understandable at my age, but my age doesn’t dictate my game.”