Stephon Marbury is one of the greatest guards in the history of New York City basketball. Marbury hails from Brooklyn’s famous Coney Island and his story was the inspiration for Spike Lee’s critically acclaimed basketball flick, He Got Game. Stephon Marbury has always been considered a Point God and was supposed to be the next New York City basketball player to take the NBA by storm.
Stephon was considered a child prodigy as his basketball game matured more quickly than other kids his age. The are legendary training stories of Marbury running up and down the stairs of his 14-story building and jogging for miles in the sand with his boots on. There are also the unfortunate stories of Marbury who would scream at opposing coaches to insert someone into the game who could guard him. Stephon Marbury oozed with a cockiness and bravado letting everyone know that he owned the New York basketball circuit and there wasn’t any basketball player in any of the boroughs who could stop him.
Stephon Marbury’s skills grew at a rate in which his maturity did not. Crowds of people gathered to watch Marbury play and created spectacles that had Marbury believing he was Coney Island’s savior. Marbury led Abraham Lincoln High School to a New York City Championship, but those in the media began to portray Marbury as a disrespectful and arrogant high school athlete who did not have the mental fortitude or respect which would be required to make it at the next level.
Stephon Marbury was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves back in 1996 and joined Kevin Garnett in an attempt to provide a formidable one-two punch. KG and Steph played well together, but things unraveled quickly and Marbury demanded a trade as reports stated that he was jealous of Garnett’s huge contract.
Marbury then bounced around the NBA trying to find a home and played for the New Jersey Nets, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, and Boston Celtics. Marbury even started his own sneaker and clothing company (Starbury) which focused on providing fashionable gear to inner-city kids at affordable prices. Marbury continued to show flashes of his former brilliance everywhere that he played, but also displayed a mental instability along with strange behaviors which would ultimately lead him out of the NBA.
Somehow, someway, Marbury ended up in China playing for the Beijing Ducks and at age 38 was just named finals MVP after winning back-to-back championships. Marbury is a fan favorite in Beijing and even has a statue of himself outside of the arena. Marbury was also able to revive his Starbury Brand and starred in a Chinese musical about his basketball journey.
There has never been any questions about Stephon Marbury’s basketball ability and unlike many NBA players before him who never lived up to their NBA potential, Marbury revived his life and career in China, and is a great example of never knowing where the game of basketball will take you as long as you don’t give up.
Contributing writer Jasen Sousa for Premier Hoops is the author of a number of poetry and fiction books for young people. Jasen has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and is a life-long participant and fan of the game of basketball.