Former NBA Star Stephon Marbury Made Honorary Citizen of Beijing

Stephen Babb@@StephenBabbFeatured ColumnistApril 5, 2014

Former New York Knicks player Stephon Marbury looks on during the first half of an NBA basketball game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the New York Knicks Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009  in New York.  (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II

Former NBA star Stephon Marbury became just the 30th honorary citizen of Beijing after carrying his team, the Ducks, to its second championship, according to This is Beijing!

Marbury's career in the States was marred by disappointment, especially in its later stages. But his stint in China has been a different story altogether. The 37-year-old dropped 28 points in Game 6 to secure a 4-2 victory over the Xinjiang Flying Tigers for the title.

The significance of the moment certainly wasn't lost on the man once known as "Starbury." He bounced back after what was apparently a rough Game 5, per Beijing Cream's Anthony Tao:

Stephon Marbury and Randolph Morris, who played so shockingly poorly in Game 5 in Beijing that I heard more than one person say they threw the game (14 points each, combined 7 for 38 from the field), redeemed themselves by scoring 28 and 30 points, respectively. 

Marbury remains a huge star in China despite his unceremonious fall from grace in the U.S. He earned his first championship in 2011-12 before losing in the semis to the Shandong Lions a year later.

He's also encountered his share of controversy, predictably enough. In one game, an elbow to the face caused quite the stir, according to Beijing Cream's Nick Bedard:

With 35 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Marbury uses his patented NYC crossover to beat Sui Ran (#1) to the bucket, but as he goes up for a layup, his shoulder appears to slam into Ran’s face. (Watch: 1:30 mark in the video above, 1:45 mark below.) 

Ran’s teammate, Wu Ke (#15), then delivers an elbow at Marbury, and all hell proceeds to break loose inside Beijing’s Shougang Arena.

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Enjoy the show.

The Chinese certainly are. 

There's no telling how much longer Marbury will continue playing at a high level. Though he'd almost certainly struggle to produce at a similar level in the NBA, his recent play for the Beijing Ducks suggests he's still a formidable competitor overseas.

Now that he's a citizen, he has all the more reason to stick around. He's beloved in China. A return home probably wouldn't be greeted with quite the same level of excitement.