After 13 up-and-down seasons in the NBA, Stephon Marbury seems to have found peace and tranquility playing basketball in China.
So much so, the 34-year-old former NBA star told the New York Times he is never coming back to live in America.
“It ain’t temporary, it’s for good,” Marbury told Times columnist William C. Rhoden. “I’m going to stay here, I’m going to live here. I love it here.
“I didn’t come here because basketball was out; I came here to rebuild myself, retire myself,” continued Marbury, who walked away from the NBA after last playing with the Boston Celtics in 2009. “I lost my father — I was dealing with a lot. People couldn’t really understand that; I’m like you think I’m crazy, but I’m so far from crazy.”
Marbury seems to have peace and a balance in personal life and on the basketball court playing for the Beijing Ducks of the Chinese Basketball Association like he never managed to find during his years in the NBA.
Marbury, who signed with the Ducks in August, has been a major reason they are undefeated and are off to their best start in 16 years. He is averaging 22.3 points, 5.7 assists and 1.9 steals per game so far.
“I have no complaints,” he said. “I’m blessed; life is good.”
Things have been so good that Marbury has turned into part counselor for the former NBA players who made their way over to the Chinese Basketball Association while they were locked out in the states. Players like Kenyon Martin, Wilson Chandler, J.R. Smith and Aaron Brooks have struggled with various aspects of the culture and adapting to the game while they remain contractually obligated to the CBA for a full season.
Smith has seemed to have the most trouble, clashing with his Zhejiang Chouzhou team and teammates often. The team believes Smith is purposely missing practices, games and acting out in hopes of having his contract voided so that he can return to the NBA this season.
Marbury has reached out to Smith, the former Denver Nugget.
“I spoke with J.R. and I told him to make himself completely vulnerable to love: embrace the culture,” Marbury said. “You’ve got to acclimate yourself to something different, you’ve got to grow into it — and then you get this stillness and calmness about yourself.”
This certainly sounds like a much different and less defiant Marbury, who seemed to clash with every organization he played for whether it be Minnesota, New Jersey, Phoenix or the New York Knicks.
Contact Terrance Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Terranceharris.
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