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Stephon Marbury left the NBA for China; Where is he now?
Stephon Marbury averaged over 18 points per game during his time with the Knicks. (Credit: Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY)

Stephon Marbury left the NBA for China; Where is he now?

NEW YORK (BVM) – Growing up in Brooklyn, Stephon Marbury looked poised to become one of professional basketball’s next great players. Eventually, he made it to that point, just not the way that many expected. 

Following a strong year in college at Georgia Tech, Marbury soon became an NBA All-Star, but bounced around from team to team as his feuds with coaches were often publicized. Before long, Marbury’s journey led him to China where he has not only excelled on the court, but continues to shine off of it.

Stephon Marbury’s early life, college career

Marbury grew up in Brooklyn alongside his six siblings. There, he attended Abraham Lincoln High School where he became New York’s Mr. Basketball as a senior, averaging 27.4 points, 8.3 rebounds and three steals. He also proved his talent on the hardwood while playing AAU basketball with the New York Gauchos. 

A McDonald’s All-American in 1995, Marbury was one of the top players in a talented senior class that featured the likes of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. With plenty of options for where he could play in college, Marbury eventually ended up committing to Georgia Tech.

Stephon Marbury Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets NBA CBA China Chinese Basketball Association
Stephon Marbury was named ACC Rookie of the Year in his lone season at Georgia Tech. (Credit: RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports)

He would go on to spend just one season with the Yellow Jackets, a year in which he averaged nearly 19 points as well as 4.5 assists and 3.1 rebounds. After leading Georgia Tech to a 24-12 season, Marbury was named the ACC Rookie of the Year, first-team All-ACC, and a third-team All-American.

Stephon Marbury’s NBA career

Following his spectacular freshman season at Georgia Tech, Marbury declared for the NBA draft. There, he was selected fourth overall by the Milwaukee Bucks, but was quickly traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for UConn product Ray Allen.

In Minnesota, Marbury teamed up with fellow Class of 1995 standout Garnett, averaging 15.8 points and 7.8 assists as a rookie. His play in his first season earned the point guard NBA All-Rookie first-team honors. Marbury upped his averages to 17.7 points and 8.6 assists in his second year in the league, helping lead the T-Wolves to a second-consecutive playoff berth.

However, during the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season, Marbury demanded a trade out of Minnesota. Just 18 games into the season, he was dealt to the New Jersey Nets. In New Jersey, Marbury’s career began to take off. After averaging over 23 points across the final 31 games of the 1998-99 season, the Georgia Tech product was named third-team All-NBA in 1999-00, and made his first All-Star appearance the following season.

However, just like his time in Minnesota, Marbury’s time in New Jersey was relatively brief. After the 2000-01 season, the guard was dealt to the Phoenix Suns as the Nets brought in Jason Kidd. Marbury continued his exceptional play with his new team, though, averaging 20.4 points in 2001-02, and 22.3 points and 8.1 assists in his second All-Star campaign the following season – a year in which he was again third-team All-NBA.

Marbury appeared to form a nice young core alongside the likes of Amar’e Stoudemire and Shawn Marion, but found himself in a trade yet again in the middle of the 2003-04 season, as the Suns sent Marbury to the New York Knicks.

Finally back home, Marbury found his longest NBA home, as he would play for the Knicks all the way through the 2007-08 season. During his time in New York, Marbury again posted solid numbers, averaging 18 points and seven assists across four-and-a-half seasons. 

While his production was good, Marbury’s relationship with the Knicks often was not. He initially feuded with former head coach Larry Brown, whose time in New York only lasted one season. Marbury got into it with head coach Isiah Thomas as well who was later let go in favor of Mike D’Antoni. Marbury played in just 23 games during Thomas’ final season at the helm, and never played for D’Antoni, who elected to start Chris Duhon over the two-time All-Star.

As a result, Marbury’s contract was bought out by the Knicks in February of 2009, allowing him to join the Boston Celtics for one final stretch run in which he saw little playing time. Announcing he would take the following year off from basketball, the 2008-09 season would ultimately wind up being Marbury’s last in the NBA. 

Across 13 seasons in the league, Marbury averaged 19.3 points, 7.6 assists and three rebounds as a two-time All-Star.

Stephon Marbury’s basketball career in China

Searching for a new and exciting journey while continuing to cope with the death of his father – who passed during one of his games in 2007 – Marbury made his comeback to the professional basketball court in 2010, signing with the Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). After an all-star season, Marbury would join the Foshan Dralions, making a second-consecutive all-star appearance.

By the 2011-12 season Marbury found a more permanent home playing for the Beijing Ducks. That season, the point guard led the Ducks to a CBA championship. The following year, Marbury was named the CBA’s International MVP. 

Marbury would go on to win two more championships with the Ducks before spending one final season on the hardwood with the Beijing Fly Dragons, becoming a six-time CBA All-Star. 

Following his playing career, Marbury has become a coach in the CBA for the Beijing Royal Fighters.

Stephon Marbury’s personal life, net worth

Marbury comes from a basketball family, as his brother, Zach, played professional basketball in Venezuela. Meanwhile, Stephon’s cousin, Jamel Thomas, was an NBA player who had a standout career at Providence, while his other cousin, Sebastian Telfair, was also a first-round NBA draft pick.

Stephon married his wife, Latasha, in 2002. The couple has three kids together: Xaviera, Stephon II and Stephanie. 

Stephon Marbury Minnesota Timberwolves NBA CBA China Chinese Basketball Association
Stephon Marbury began his NBA career playing alongside Kevin Garnett for the Minnesota Timberwolves, a team his cousin, Sebastian Telfair, also later played for. (Credit: RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports)

Between his basketball career and several business endeavors outside of the sport, Marbury is estimated to have a net worth of around $40 million.

Stephon Marbury since his NBA career

Marbury went through plenty of ups and downs during his NBA life. In 2004, he was part of the USA Basketball Olympic team in Athens, earning a bronze medal. Five years later, he was fading from relevance in the NBA while hosting an infamous live-streamed video in which he ate Vaseline

However, since his move to China, things have mostly been positive for the former NBA All-Star, and he has gotten involved with many fulfilling ventures while also giving back. 

His success on the court in China led him to become a sports icon in the country. In 2012, a statue was built outside of the Ducks’ arena to honor Marbury and the team’s CBA championship, while he also later received a key to the city. The 45-year-old also has a museum in Beijing to commemorate his CBA career. 

Marbury earned a permanent green card to become a China resident in the following years as well, and has embraced the culture of the country exemplified by the tattoos he has stating “Beijing Dynasty” and “I Love China.”

Marbury reportedly has his own Chinese stamp and postcards, and in addition to coaching, he has run a basketball school and rehabilitation center for kids in Beijing.

Stephon Marbury New Jersey Nets NBA CBA China Chinese Basketball Association
Stephon Marbury spent time with the New Jersey Nets before eventually playing in Phoenix, New York and Boston. (Credit: RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports)

Giving back is nothing new for the former point guard. During his NBA career, Marbury donated money following the September 11th terrorist attacks on the U.S., and did the same after Hurricane Katrina. He has also donated money to the New York fire and police departments in the past, as well as the city’s teachers fund.

While in China, Marbury has helped raise money for charitable causes like building schools and the fight against leukemia. One of his greatest charitable endeavors, however, came in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Being in China at the start of the pandemic and losing a cousin to the virus, Marbury knew the dangers early on, and urged NBA commissioner Adam Silver to shutdown the NBA season several days before the league actually did.

During the pandemic, Marbury also helped bring millions of masks back home to New York City through a Chinese supplier. 

Meanwhile, when Marbury hasn’t been busy with charitable efforts, he has also found business success. 

In 2006, Marbury partnered with “Steve & Barry’s” to promote his own line of apparel and shoes called “Starbury.” After “Steve & Barry’s” went bankrupt, he took his product line to China where his brand can be found in multiple stores throughout the country.

Other business ventures for Marbury in China include joining the country’s Sun Seven Stars Investment Group as a chairman, as well as becoming an owner of the Beijing Lions in China’s Arena Football League.

Marbury has been no stranger to the entertainment spotlight, either. In 2014, he played himself in a musical based on his life titled “I am Marbury.” Three years later in 2017, the former NBA star was part of an autobiographical film documenting his time in China called “My Other Home.” In 2019, a film documenting the entirety of Marbury’s life and basketball journey, “A Kid from Coney Island,” was released on Netflix. Marbury’s beginnings as a basketball player in Brooklyn were also featured in Showtime’s 2021 documentary, “NYC Point Gods.”

No matter what he has done over the past decade-plus, Marbury has seemed to find success. He still comes back to the U.S. time and again, and reportedly still keeps tabs on the NBA. Recently, some have even advocated for Marbury to receive an induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

While he will have always left a mark in the NBA, Marbury’s legacy continues to grow in China. Arguably the CBA’s most successful international player, the former NBA All-Star is now focused on what he can do as a coach, and will likely continue to find success through the next chapter of his journey.