CBA (Chinese Basketball Association)

‘It’s the basketball hall of fame not the NBA hall of fame’: Stephon Marbury might be quitting hoops but is still calling the shots

Two-time NBA All-Star calls time on his 22-year career with final game for Chinese Basketball Association side Beijing Fly Dragons on February 11

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 February, 2018, 4:38pm
UPDATED : Friday, 02 February, 2018, 4:41pm

Never a shrinking violet, Stephon Marbury has shown that even in announcing his retirement from playing professional basketball he still has the ability to dictate the headlines.

The former NBA point guard, who has spent the last eight years of his 22-year career in the Chinese Basketball Association, has put forward his case for being a hall-of-famer in an interview with ESPN’s The Undefeated.

“It’s the Basketball Hall of Fame, not the NBA Hall of Fame,” Marbury said. “So, for basketball, I played in Olympics, I played in the Junior Olympics. With what I’ve done and given to basketball is all Hall of Fame.”

Much like his court time in the CBA, Marbury makes several good points.

“My numbers are Hall of Fame. That’s first,” he said. “You look at guys who have never won championships on the globe, they are in the Hall of Fame. Two, what I have done to help basketball globally to bridge the gap from America to China, with China being one of the main components on the Earth for basketball, that right there alone should bridge that gap.”

In the same interview “Starbury” described the NBA as a “stepping stone” that allowed him to fulfil his achievements in the Far East.

The soon to be 41-year-old will retire after the final game of the Beijing Fly Dragons regular season on February 11 and will hang up his sneakers as arguably the most beloved foreigner in Chinese sports.

He is immortalised in two statues in Beijing, one outside the Wukesong Arena and one outside the Ducks training complex in Wukesong.

Marbury also has a museum in the Chinese capital dedicated to his career and has been the subject of works on both stage and screen.

He is one of few foreigners in any field to have a Chinese permanent residence card and was named one of Beijing’s model citizens.

Marbury left the Beijing Ducks last summer after six seasons that brought three CBA championships and one finals MVP and landed at the Beijing Fly Dragons for what will now be his last season.

The Fly Dragons were his fourth Chinese team in eight years in the country, which began with the Shanxi Zhongy Brave Dragons in 2010 then a brief stint at the Foshan Dralions before arriving at the Beijing Ducks in 2011.

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Marbury’s NBA career saw him make two All-Star games and average 19.3 points, 7.6 assists and three rebounds in 14 seasons with his hometown New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns and New Jersey Nets.

Marbury would be eligible to join the Basketball Hall of Fame, located in Springfield, Massachusetts, as an international player.

He would not be the first player to have played in the CBA to be inducted. Tracy McGrady, inducted in 2017, played at Qingdao Doublestar Eagles while Yao Ming played for the Shanghai Sharks before embarking on his NBA career.

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McGrady, now an analyst at ESPN, told Sports Centre that Marbury “deserves” to be in the hall of fame for what he achieved in the US and China.