Stephon Xavier Marbury (born February 20, 1977) is an American professional basketball player who currently plays for the Beijing Ducks of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). He has won three CBA championships with Beijing in 2012, 2014 and 2015, and is widely considered as the greatest foreign player to ever play in the Chinese Basketball Association.
The 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m), 205 lb (93 kg; 14.6 st) point guard was selected out of the Georgia Institute of Technology by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 4th overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft, but was traded shortly thereafter to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
He was an NBA All-Star in 2001 and 2003 and was voted into the All-NBA Third Team in 2000 and 2003.
Marbury has often gone by the nickname "Starbury", a name created during his youth. Marbury, the sixth of seven children, was born and raised in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City. He attended elementary school, PS 329. During his teenage years, he starred at NYC powerhouse Abraham Lincoln High School, After his senior year Marbury was named New York State Mr. Basketball. He was often heralded as the next great NYC point guard, expected to follow the success of NBA stand-outs Mark Jackson and Kenny Anderson.
While still attending Abraham Lincoln High School he was one of the subjects of Darcy Frey's book The Last Shot, which followed three seniors and Marbury, a freshman, through the early months of his first season with the school's team. In high school he played for the renowned AAU team the New York Gauchos.
He was named a 1995 McDonald's All-American along with future NBA All-Stars Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, and Antawn Jamison. Marbury was listed as one of the top five recruits in the country that year and heavily pursued by Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets coach Bobby Cremins, with whom he eventually committed.
At Georgia Tech, Marbury took over the starting point guard role left vacant with Travis Best's departure. Teaming with future NBA players Matt Harpring and Drew Barry, Marbury led Georgia Tech to a 24–12 record en route to the Regional Semifinal game of the NCAA tournament, where the Yellow Jackets lost to Cincinnati 87–70. For the season, Marbury averaged 18.9 ppg and 4.5 assists and was named a Third Team All American by the Associated Press, along with several conference honors. Following the season he declared himself eligible for the 1996 NBA draft.
Minnesota Timberwolves (1996–1999)
He was selected fourth overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1996 NBA draft, then traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the draft rights to Ray Allen (who was drafted immediately after him) and a future first-round pick. In his first season in the league, Marbury averaged 15.8 points and 7.8 assists per game and was named to the 1997 All-Rookie Team. He and second-year player Kevin Garnett led the Timberwolves to the NBA Playoffs in 1997 and 1998.
During the lockout-shortened 1999 season, Marbury's agent, David Falk, demanded a trade. Marbury said he wanted to be closer to his family and friends. Other reports said he wanted to go to a market that would provide more endorsement opportunities, while others suggested that Marbury genuinely disliked Minnesota and was jealous of Kevin Garnett's new contract. Marbury was ultimately traded to the New Jersey Nets in a three-way trade in which Terrell Brandon was sent from Milwaukee to Minnesota and Sam Cassell was sent from New Jersey to Milwaukee.
New Jersey Nets (1999–2001)
While in New Jersey, Marbury blossomed into an All-Star. Marbury made the All-NBA 3rd Team in 2000 and was selected as a reserve for the 2001 All-Star Game, where he hit 2 clutch threes to win the game. Marbury also scored a career-high 50 points on February 13, 2001 in an overtime loss against the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite his individual accolades, the Nets never made the playoffs during Marbury's time with the team.
Phoenix Suns (2001–2004)
Marbury was traded to the Phoenix Suns along with Johnny Newman and Soumaila Samake in the 2001 offseason for Jason Kidd and Chris Dudley. As a Sun, Marbury made his second All-Star team and the All-NBA 3rd team in 2003. Teamed with Rookie of the Year Amar'e Stoudemire and All-Star Shawn Marion, the trio took the team to the playoffs, but the Suns were ousted by the Spurs in the first round.
New York Knicks (2004–2009)
Marbury, Penny Hardaway and Cezary Trybański were traded to the New York Knicks on January 5, 2004 for Howard Eisley, Charlie Ward, Antonio McDyess, Maciej Lampe, draft rights to Miloš Vujanić, a first-round 2004 draft choice, and an additional future first-round draft choice. This brought Marbury full circle, as he grew up in New York and was a lifelong Knicks fan.
Marbury played for the U.S. in the 2004 Summer Olympics, the first of the U.S. teams composed of NBA players to fail to win the gold medal at the Olympics. He and his teammates returned with bronze. Despite the disappointment, Marbury scored a U.S. team Olympic record 31 points in a game against Spain (since eclipsed by Carmelo Anthony in 2012).
During the 2005–06 season Marbury feuded with head coach Larry Brown. Towards the end of the 2005–2006 season, the Knicks' poor performance combined with Marbury's public spats with his coach led to a severe decline in Marbury's popularity, with Frank Isola and Michael O'Keefe of the New York Daily News stating that Marbury is "the most reviled athlete in New York."
The public feud between Marbury and Brown was one of the reasons Larry Brown was fired at the end of the 2005–06 season. Isiah Thomas took over the coaching role and the Knicks were slightly more successful during the 2006–2007 season, surpassing the previous year's 23 wins, 54 games into their 82-game season, before falling off and finishing with only 33. Despite the fact that Marbury had less impressive statistics than in prior years, some pundits claimed that Marbury's newfound unselfishness was key to the team's apparent improvement towards the end of the season.
The start of the 2007–08 season found the Knicks again floundering and Marbury again involved in a public feud, this time with Thomas. The pivotal incident involved Marbury leaving the team after learning that Thomas planned to remove him from the starting lineup. There were reports that Marbury and Thomas actually came to blows on the team plane, and that Marbury threatened to blackmail Thomas for taking him out of the starting lineup—both in the presence of Knick teammates. Following the incident and Marbury's return to the team in mid-November after one missed game, Knick fans consistently chanted "fire Isiah" at home games and constantly booed virtually all of the Knicks, especially Marbury. The dysfunction and drama were accompanied by 8 straight Knicks losses, and several newspapers reported that Isiah's job was in jeopardy. There were also rumors that the Knicks wanted to trade Marbury to another team. However, this proved difficult for the Knicks to accomplish, in view of the two years and approximately $42 million remaining under his contract with the Knicks. Following a season-ending ankle surgery in February 2008, which was reportedly deemed unnecessary by the team, but which Marbury elected to undergo regardless, Isiah Thomas hinted that Marbury could have played his final game in a Knicks uniform. However, in April 2008, it was Thomas who was removed from his position; first as president, being replaced by Donnie Walsh, and then as coach, being replaced by Mike D'Antoni.
After D'Antoni took over, the Knicks signed Chris Duhon, leading to speculations over Marbury's future in New York. Marbury arrived to training camp, and competed with Duhon for the starting point guard job, which Duhon won. When D'Antoni told Marbury that he had an opportunity to play approximately 35 minutes in a game if he wanted to, Marbury, apparently feeling he and the Knicks had gone their own ways, allegedly refused. Following that, on December 1, Marbury was banned from attending any Knicks' practices or games.
Boston Celtics (2009)
On February 24, 2009, the Knicks and Marbury agreed to a buyout after much speculation. He cleared waivers two days later, making him a free agent. Marbury had been speculated to become a Boston Celtic by many NBA analysts since late 2008; and on February 27, 2009, Marbury signed with the Celtics. In his debut as a Celtic, he played against the Indiana Pacers, adding 8 points on 4 of 6 shooting, and 2 assists in 13 minutes. Marbury wore the jersey number 8, as No. 3 had been retired in honor of Dennis Johnson.
Marbury was offered a one-year contract by the Celtics for the 2009–10 season for the veteran's minimum. However, he did not agree to the contract. He later announced that he would take a year off from basketball to attend to his business interests.
Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons (2010)
In January 2010, it was announced that Marbury had signed with the Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association. In his first game, Marbury, suffering from jet lag, contributed 15 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists, and 4 steals in 28 minutes of action. He averaged 22.9 points, 9.5 assists and 2.6 steals in 15 games, but Shanxi eventually failed to advance to the playoffs. Marbury later participated in the CBA All-Star match between the North and the South teams, contributing 30 points and 10 assists for the North team. He won the MVP title for the All-Star game. In July 2010, Marbury agreed to a three-year deal to remain with the Brave Dragons. However, he left the team in December 2010
Foshan Dralions (2010–2011)
In December 2010 Marbury joined the Foshan Dralions. Like the previous season, Marbury played in the starting five of the 2011 CBA All-Star match, but his team failed to make the playoffs.
Beijing Ducks (2011–present)
During the 2011–2012 season, the Beijing Ducks, led by Stephon Marbury, started out the season with a 13–0 record. Like the previous two seasons, Marbury played in the starting five for the 2012 CBA All-Star match, but unlike the previous two years, his team made the playoffs. Averaging 45 points per game during the Shanxi series, Marbury led Beijing to their first ever CBA Finals match-up against the 7-time champion Guangdong Southern Tigers. Marbury then led his Beijing Ducks Team to the 2011–2012 season CBA championship. Following the team's championship, in May 2012, a statue of Marbury was unveiled on the lawn of the MasterCard Center, the 2008 Olympic basketball arena, in Beijing. Dennis Rodman spoke at the ceremony.
Writing in the state-run China Daily, Marbury credited the success in his life to Chinese culture which he described as one "filled with love, compassion, and care".
In the second game of the 2012–13 CBA season, Marbury tallied 13 assists in a victory over the Jilin Northeast Tigers. This was the highest number of assists Marbury had produced in a single game since his tenure with the Ducks began. He then scored 32 points in an away game against Liaoning. Beijing won that match by 4 points. He was named the CBA Foreign MVP for the season.
On March 30, 2014, Marbury won a second CBA championship with the Beijing Ducks. On March 22, 2015, he won his third CBA championship with his team, as well as his first official CBA Finals MVP award.
Off the court
Marbury's father Don died during a December 2, 2007 game between the Knicks and the Phoenix Suns.
Marbury's brother Zach has played professional basketball in Venezuela. Marbury is a cousin of professional basketball player Sebastian Telfair. He is also a cousin of former Providence College star and former NBA journeyman Jamel Thomas. In a book, Thomas claimed Marbury's selfish actions in Minnesota prevented Thomas from signing a contract with the Timberwolves. Stephon and his wife (Latasha) married on September 14, 2002. He has three children: Xaviera Marbury, Stephon Marbury, Jr, and Stephanie Marbury.
In 2001, Stephon donated $250,000 of the money derived from Pepsi sponsorships to help victims of the September 11 attacks.
In 2005, Marbury donated between $500,000 and $1,000,000 to help victims of Hurricane Katrina.
In 2007, Stephon donated $4,000,000 to New York City, $1,000,000 each to the NYPD, FDNY, EMT, and New York City Teacher's Fund.
In 2014, Marbury was named one of the Top 10 Model Citizens for Beijing due to the his commitment to the Beijing community and the charity work he provided for it. He became the first international citizen to earn such an honor since its inception by the Beijing government.
In 2006, Marbury partnered with Steve & Barry's to promote a line of shoes and clothing bearing his nickname, "Starbury". The line of shoes he endorsed sold for $14.98, far less than many other shoe lines. Marbury was not paid to endorse the shoes, but was compensated based on sales of the shoes. Since then, but not due to business with Marbury, Steve & Barry's filed for bankruptcy and closed all stores. Shortly after Steve & Barry's closed, Marbury opened Starbury.com to sell his shoes and an expanded product line through a partnership with Amazon.com. Starbury has also announced plans to open dozens of stores and a distributorship in China.
In popular culture
Marbury is on the cover of the Midway video game NBA Ballers. He has been named to The Sporting News list of "Good Guys in Sports" three times.
In the Spike Lee movie He Got Game, fictional Brooklyn high school star Jesus Shuttlesworth (played by Ray Allen) mentions Stephon Marbury as one of the great New York City legends to make it out of Coney Island to the NBA. The high school in the movie, Abraham Lincoln, is where Marbury attended high school.
In 2001, Marbury, alongside fellow former Georgia Tech point guard Kenny Anderson, appeared in the video for Big Pun's single "Whatcha Gonna Do" which was produced by Juju of The Beatnuts. In the video, Marbury and Anderson play a 2 on 2 game versus Terror Squad members Fat Joe and Cuban Link.
In 2003, Marbury's arrival with the New York Knicks was referenced in the Scrubs episode titled "My Porcelain God".
In 2007, Marbury co-authored his first children's book with Marshall Dean entitled The Adventures of Young Starbury: Practice Makes Perfect. The book was illustrated by Ryan Nakai.
In March 2008, WWE superstar Montel Vontavious Porter said in an interview that he based his wrestling persona on Marbury. M.V.P. said he had an encounter with Marbury when he was a doorman at a club.
In 2009, Marbury broadcast his life 24/7 on the live stream website Justin.tv.
Marbury appeared in the 2014 musical I Am Marbury, which is allegorically based on his life.
In 2016, it was confirmed that Marbury will be starring in his own autobiographical movie titled "My Other Home", alongside Jessica Jung.
China permanent residence permit
In 2015, Marbury applied for and received a Chinese "green card", or permanent residence permit. He is the fifth American basketball player to receive a green card
NBA career statistics
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CBA career statistics