Don't look now, but a basketball dynasty is blossoming in Beijing, and the only man who was brash enough to dream it -- to, indeed, articulate that dream -- was the pride of Coney Island, Stephon Marbury.
The Xinjiang Flying Tigers may have lost the CBA championship to the Beijing Ducks, but Xinjiangers around the world came away from the games with a powerful meme. It came at the end of Game 5, after the Tigers rallied and pulled off an improbable win in front of a hostile Beijing crowd of 18,000. Shiralijan, the star Uyghur point guard for the Tigers who had been tasked with defending Stephan Marbury -- the star of the Ducks (and best player in the league, according to Anthony Tao!) --threw the ball in the air and raised a twirling, emphatic fist:
After leading Beijing to its first Chinese Basketball Association championship two years ago, Stephon Marbury was given his own bronze statue. We wondered, after his second CBA title, how Beijing would honor its adopted Coney Island point guard, and now we know: by giving him a key to the city.
The Beijing Ducks won the CBA championship last night in Xinjiang, beating the Flying Tigers 98-88 in Game 6. Here are some photos and a video of the celebration. The top image, by the way, is now Stephon Marbury's profile pic on Sina Weibo:
Beijing is again king of Chinese basketball. The Ducks beat the Xinjiang Flying Tigers 98-88 tonight in Urumqi, clinching the CBA championship 4 games to 2. Stephon Marbury and Randolph Morris, who played so shockingly poorly in Game 5 in Beijing that I heard more than one person say they threw the game (14 points each, combined 7 for 38 from the field), redeemed themselves by scoring 28 and 30 points, respectively.
Believe it or not, a 37-year-old point guard from Coney Island, New York who played 13 years in the NBA is putting the city of Beijing on his back.
With one CBA championship on his resume -- and a statue outside MasterCard Center -- Stephon Marbury already is a Chinese basketball living legend. So what happens if he wins another, all while averaging 28 points per game this postseason on a bum knee?
The professional basketball team in Beijing is called the Ducks, but I don't see why. It should be the Beijing Stephon Marburies. There is no player more valuable to his team -- not Yi Jianlian for Guangdong, not Doug McDermott for Creighton, not even LeBron James for Miami -- than Marbury is to Beijing, and if you needed any proof, just fire up last night's decisive Game 5 of the CBA semifinals, which saw the Ducks beat the Guangdong Southern Tigers 110-102 in Dongguan.
Stephon Marbury may have turned in his finest CBA performance -- and it came against the best team in the league, the defending CBA champion Guangdong Southern Tigers. With his head bandaged for the last four minutes of the fourth quarter and through overtime -- the result of a gash sustained during one of his trademark drives to the basket -- the 37-year-old finished Saturday night with 43 points on 13-for-20 shooting (including 4-for-8 from behind the arc).
After sitting out more than two months with an injury and missing 22 games, Beijing Ducks superstar point guard Stephon Marbury returned to the court last night against the Shandong Flaming Bulls in his team's first game of the new lunar year.
It was an eventful night, to say the very least.
Panagiotis Giannakis, former head coach of the Greek basketball team, arrived in May to begin a four-year contract to lead the Chinese basketball team through the 2014 FIBA World Championships in Spain and the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. As of this writing, however -- following a blowout loss to Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals of the FIBA Asia Championship two weeks ago -- it doesn't look like Giannakis will survive the month.
What does Gilbert Arenas, three-time NBA All-Star, do before CBA games in Shanghai?
Watch YouTube, of course. We know this thanks to Donald Mahoney of the video series Donnie Does.
"I watched you on YouTube before I got here," Arenas tells Donnie in the tunnel before a Sharks home game. "You're funny as shit."
"How you liking Shanghai?"
"Let's grab a beer sometime."
The CBA might have a flopping problem. Tianjin's flopping against Qingdao last week was a big reason that game got so out of hand, and on Friday, we saw another incident involving one of the league's high-profile players.
Watch as Guangsha guard Zhang Hanjun starts bleeding perilymph from his ear upon bodily contact with Beijing's Stephon Marbury. Who comes out of this looking good?
On Tuesday, Gilbert Arenas played his first game since November 24 — when he pulled up lame after just six minutes in Beijing – and it was apparent he wasn’t completely healthy. He limped to the bench in the first half, fueling the same questions that reporters asked last month: is he physically fit to compete? Arenas... Read more »
This weekend has not been good to Tracy McGrady. On Friday he suffered the indignity of having to run off the court because of diarrhea — to say nothing of the indignity of a 10-point performance in a 30-point home loss. Yesterday in Beijing, against the defending champs, he was involved in what could have been... Read more »
Allen Iverson and Jason “White Chocolate” Williams were among the more famous basketball players in Beijing on Saturday to take on the defending CBA champs in an exhibition at Beijing National Stadium. (No Dennis Rodman this time.) The Ducks beat the American “All-Stars” 132-103, but all anyone could talk about afterwards was the “juke” that... Read more »
Fans lined up around the massive Zhongguancun Book Mansion this morning to see their favorite athlete, Stephon Marbury, conduct a book signing for his ghostwritten autobiography, I Am Commissar Marbury (I only assume it’s ghostwritten because it’s in Chinese). Marbury, who had been in the US for foot surgery, returned to Beijing on Thursday with his... Read more »
There’s nothing wrong with following porn stars on Twitter, as China Daily has taught us. To wit, Stephon Marbury of Starbury fame –point guard of the Beijing Ducks, the CBA’s current champions – follows these lovely ladies, as revealed by Buzzfeed:
Stephon Marbury may never make it onto the cover of Sports Illustrated (unless Sports Illustrated China counts), but he has made it onto the front page of Beijing Evening News, seen above.
I hope I'm not burying the lead here, but he also has his own life-sized statue. Stephon Marbury does. A bronze effigy.
Former NBA stars Allen Iverson and Dennis Rodman were in Cixi, Zhejiang earlier this week to scrimmage against the Beijing Ducks, which still has (the newly minted) Stephon Marbury, as part of an eight-game, multi-team tour. One Beijing player said it was a dream to play against AI. Ducks coach Min Lulei, however, had no use for such sentiment. He chided his team in the post-game press conference for not taking the opening game seriously enough, which strikes me as just silly -- the Ducks are a month removed from winning the CBA championship, and they haven't practiced together since.