Stephon Marbury and 10 Former NBA Stars That Played Overseas
Just a few days ago, former NBA star point guard Stephon Marbury won the CBA championship as the leader of the Beijing Ducks. Marbury played a total of 13 seasons in the NBA and made two All-Star appearances as well as putting up career averages of 19.3 points and 7.6 assists a game, however a huge ego and feuds with different coaches and GMs left Marbury unwanted in the NBA. Now he has found some success in China.
There are a lot of players who have turned to international basketball. I'm not just talking about this year with Chandler, Martin and Smith, but many Hall of Fame basketball players chose to play a few seasons of foreign basketball after they retired from the NBA.
Here is a list with 10 former NBA stars that chose to play overseas.
Stephon Marbury (2010-2012)
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Lets start with the man of the hour, Stephon Marbury.
Marbury originally joined the Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons of the CBA in January 2010. Marbury was great there, averaging 22.9 points, 9.6 assists and 2.5 steals in 15 games, but his team failed to advance to the playoffs. The next season he joined the Foshan Dralions, but again his team failed to advance.
This year, Marbury switched teams for the second time and joined the Beijing Ducks. The team started out on a 13-0 record and led by Marbury they advanced to the playoffs. Marbury at age 35 put up 45 points a game in a series against Shanxi that led the Ducks to the finals. There, Marbury outplayed his matchup Aaron Brooks and the Guangdong Southern Tigers, and the Ducks won the championship.
Over his time in China, Marbury has also been named to the All-Star game all three seasons and was named the MVP once. He may not have won an NBA ring, but now he has something.
Allen Iverson (2010-2011)
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Eleven time all-star and former MVP winner Allen Iverson also decided to try playing overseas, when he inked a two-year, four million dollar contract to play with Besiktas Cola Turka, a Turkish basketball team. On November 16, 2010, Iverson made his debut in a 91-94 loss and scored 15 points in 23 minutes.
Iverson's time in Turkey was short. He played just seven games for the team, putting up 14.3 points and 4.7 assists a game. He returned to the U.S in 2011 to have calf surgery. Now 36, Iverson could still possibly play on an NBA team if he were willing to play at a D-league level or as a role player. The likelihood, however, is that Iverson stays away from the NBA for good.
Scottie Pippen (2008)
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Hall of Fame player Scottie Pippien is another person who turned to international basketball at one point, even if it was only for a few games. As an NBA player, Pippen was amazing, putting up career averages of almost 16 points, six rebounds and five assists a game. The seven-time NBA All-Star and eight-time All-NBA first defensive team player was regarded as one of the great small forwards of his time.
However, even after retiring at the age of 34, Pippen wasn't quite done. Pippen returned to basketball in 2008, when the 42-year-old made a tour of Scandinavia and played two games for Finnish team Torpan Pojat and a game for Swedish team Sundsvall. Pippen registered 12 points in his first game, a win for Torpan. In his second game, he put up nine points and nine rebounds in another win. In his final game with Sundsvall, Pippen put up 21 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and two steals. Not bad for a 42-year-old.
Dennis Rodman (2005-06)
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Whether you can actually say Rodman played overseas is debatable, but it was an "experiment." His return to the NBA never happened, but during the 2000s he made multiple stops around the world to play for different teams.
In 2005, Rodman made a stop in Finland. He signed a one game contract to play for Torpan Pojat of Finland's basketball league Korisliiga.
Later in 2006, Rodman played three games for the Brighton Bears in England. He also played two games in the Philippines in which he faced off against other NBA stars. In his first game there, which was a win, he scored five points and grabbed 18 rebounds. In a loss during the second game, he scored three points and had 16 rebounds.
Magic Johnson (1999)
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Yes, that Magic Johnson. The same one that won three MVP awards, made 12 All-Star appearances and appeared in the NBA finals nine times. We all know that Magic retired from the NBA more than once. He originally retired in 1991 after testing positive for HIV, but returned as a 36-year-old to play in the 1995-1996 season.
After permanently retiring from the NBA in 1996, Magic still wasn't done with basketball. In 1998, he purchased a team in Boras, Sweden and named the club Magic M7. He also played for the team during the 1999-2000 season as a 40-year-old, and he put up 14 points and 11 rebounds in his debut. However, he only played one season for the team. He left after 2000, and the team soon went bankrupt.
George Gervin (1986-1987), (1989-1990)
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Hall of Fame player George Gervin was an incredible NBA star. Gervin put up career averages of 26.2 points and 4.6 rebounds a game in the NBA, made many All-Star appearances and is considered one of the greatest shooting guards and one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history.
However, after retiring from the NBA in 1985, Gervin was still just 33 and decided to play basketball overseas. In 1986-1987, he played in Italy for Banco Roma, and when he was 38 he played for TDK Manresa in the Spanish Basketball League. By that time he had lost some of his quickness, but still averaged 25 points and 5.5 rebounds a game, and recorded 31 points and 15 rebounds in his last game for TDK.
Gervin was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996 and had his number retired by the Spurs, but the NBA wasn't the only basketball he'll be remembered for.
Dominique Wilkins (1995-96), (1997-98)
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Nine-time All-Star and Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins, also known as "The Human Highlight Film" for his spectacular dunks was yet another amazing superstar who decided to spend some time away from the U.S playing basketball.
The small forward averaged 24.8 points and 6.7 rebounds a game over his career in the NBA, but after playing with the Celtics for the 94-95 season, he went to Europe. There, he signed with the Panathinaikos of Greece and averaged 20.1 points and 7.4 rebounds a game, helping them win the Euroleague title.
Wilkins returned to the NBA to play for the Spurs and solidify their bench, but after the season was over he once again returned overseas to play for Teamsystem Bologna of the Italian League.
Wilkins returned to the U.S one more time, where he played on the Magic with his brother Gerald Wilkins. At 39 he retired and he was inducted into the HOF in 2006.
Alex English (1991-1992)
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Possibly the NBA's most prolific scorer of the 1980s, Alex English was an amazing player for the Denver Nuggets. He put up averages of 21.5 points and 5.5 rebounds over his career, made eight All-Star appearances and led the Nuggets to the playoffs for nine consecutive seasons. However, after the 1990 season English decided to sign with the Dallas Mavericks, where he played as a backup. His production took a large hit and he averaged just 10 points and three rebounds a game.
After that season, nobody cared to sign the 38-year-old and so he played overseas. English signed a one-year deal with the Italian team Depi Napoli. There, English once again found his stroke and averaged 14 points for the team over 18 games.
Artis Gilmore (1988-89)
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After a successful career in which Gilmore was an 11-time All-Star and an ABA MVP, he started to fade at the end of his career. By the time he was 38, Gilmore put up just 3.7 points and three rebounds a game for the Bulls and Celtics. When nobody agreed to sign him after that, he packed his bags and moved to Italy.
He then spent the 1988-1989 season with Arimo Bologna of the Italian League, in which he averaged 12.3 points and 11 rebounds a game and made the European All-Star team. At 40 years old, he was still able to rebounds, block and defend. He then retired from basketball after that season.
Bob Mcadoo (1986-1993)
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Towards the beginning of his career in the NBA, Bob McAdoo was a legend, putting up extraordinary numbers. He was completely dominant in the league for six or seven years, but then started to fade. By the time he was 34 in 1985, he averaged just 10 points a game for the 76ers. So McAdoo turned to European Basketball and became one of the greatest U.S born players ever to play in Europe.
McAdoo first played in Italy on the Tracer Milano team. He led the team to the Italian Lega A and FIBA European Championship each twice, and put up averages of 26.1 points and 10.2 rebounds a game. He later played for Filanto Forli and Teamsystem Fabriano before retiring from basketball all together at the age of 42. McAdoo stayed in Europe longer than any other star on this list and became a legend both in the NBA and overseas.