Stephon Marbury has a better chance at being elected to the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame than Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter. Think about that for a minute.
The two-time All-NBA team, two-time All-Star and former NBA assist champ known as “Starbury” racked up over 16,000 points, 6,000 assists and 1,000 steals while compiling a career average of 19.3 points, 7.6 assists and a 2.53-to-1 assist to turnover ratio (both the points and assist to turnover ratio is superior to Isiah Thomas’ career numbers) before leaving the NBA for three seasons ago at just 32 years of age.
In fact, Marbury ranks ahead of such Hall of Famers as Calvin Murphy and Ralph Sampson on the “Hall of Fame Probability” list at basketball-reference.com.
Many fans have a hissy fit and start shouting out reasons why Marbury’s NBA career was not noteworthy enough to merit being inducted into the Hall of Fame. However, Marbury’s NBA numbers blow a player like Calvin Murphy’s out of the water and stack up favorably with players such as Isaiah Thomas as well.
However, what most NBA fans don’t realize is that the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame is not merely for NBA players, nor are players elected solely on their NBA credentials, but on their cumulative basketball accomplishments in various leagues and competitions.
Ralph Sampson and even Bill Walton were inducted into the Hall of Fame largely on what they accomplished as collegiate athletes. Arvydas Sabonis was recently inducted based on his European dominance and Olympic gold medal won in the 1988 games in South Korea.
When Stephon Marbury walked away from the NBA after the 2008-09 season to continue his professional basketball career in China, many talking heads scoffed and fans wondered why the star would throw away his legacy in such a way.
However, the move to China catapulted Marbury back to superstardom, albeit on a different continent, and may have even assured Marbury of being elected into the Hall of Fame when he finishes his career.
In the three seasons Marbury has played in the Chinese Basketball Association, he has been named an All-Star three times, winning one All-Star Game MVP award in the process. This past season Marbury led the Beijing Ducks to a thrilling five game victory over the Shanxi Brave Dragons by averaging 45 points per game in the three victories.
Marbury and the Ducks then squared off with the juggernaut and seven-time CBA champions Guangdong Southern Tigers who came into the finals with an astounding 33-5 record (a nearly identical winning percentage as Michael Jordan’s greatest Chicago Bulls squad) and having swept through the playoffs to that point.
In the CBA Finals, Marbury outplayed former Phoenix Suns point guard Aaron Brooks in the first game of the best-of-seven series by scoring 36 points and dishing out 5 assists in a 108-101 victory. Five games is all it would take for Marbury to lead the Ducks to the title. In Game 5 Marbury once again outplayed Brooks, scoring 41 points and handing out seven assists in a thrilling 124-121 victory.
Today, Stephon Marbury is a bonafide superstar and legend in China. I personally believe he will continue to play in the CBA and one day enter the Basketball Hall of Fame, having been not only a great NBA player and superstar CBA player but the one player other than Yao Ming, who did more than any other to bridge the gap between North America and China as far as professional basketball is concerned.