Stephon Marbury To Coach Pro Ball In Chinese Basketball Association

The Brooklyn basketball legend is headed back to China, this time as a coach.

On Monday, Brooklyn hoops legend Stephon Marbury was named the head coach of the Beijing Royal Fighters — the team he spent his final pro basketball season playing for.

After an NBA career that was productive, but was filled with controversy and fell short of the consistent superstar and championship glory that so many predicted, Marbury went to China and found the ultimate stardom he always craved as a dynamic but embattled NBA player.

After playing in the NBA for 14 years, Marbury came to the CBA in 2010 and won three championship rings in four seasons. Just one year removed from the league, he’s coming back as a coach. 

While in China, Marbury’s soul was cleansed and he matured as a man. But long before he cleansed his soul in the Middle East, his Starbury sneakers were proof of his understanding of a celebrity’s social responsibility to the less fortunate. 

People clowned him for creating his own shoe line and selling them for $15, but those who understood his motivations applauded him for providing kids who couldn’t afford to pay over $100 for a pair of sneakers–a viable option in a market oversaturated with overpriced footwear.

China was a better fit for Marbury than the NBA ever was. He learned about humility and how being a great teammate can be a player’s most cherished and lauded skill. He learned how to be a champion.

After playing his last NBA season with the Boston Celtics in 2009, he went overseas to play in China. Few could have foreseen how he would reinvent himself. After his first two years with the Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons and the Foshan Dralions, he solidified himself as perhaps the greatest player ever in Chinese Basketball Association history during his tenure with the Beijing Ducks from 2011 to 2017”. 

In China, he saw the potential to revive his career in a fast-growing basketball market. Five years later, Marbury was starring in a musical about his life in Beijing. He is beloved by millions of basketball fans.

Marbury eventually reached the level of stardom that everyone envisioned when he was a young teen that legendary Cardozo High School coach Ron Naclerio would bring up to the Rucker Park along with Rafer “Skip to My Lou” Alston, to get busy on some grown men. 

Now Marbury has statues and a museum named after him. He’s established himself and his brand as a viable force in the international business community. Marbury officially retired last season but hasn’t spent any time coaching, and his deal is for three years. Last season, the Royal Fights — also known as the Fly Dragons — finished last in the CBA with eight wins in 46 games, so Marbury has his work cut out for him.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.