Stephon Marbury, formerly of the New York Knicks, has turned his basketball career around in China. Photo by Keith Allison/Flickr
BEIJING, April 21 (UPI) -- A U.S. basketball player who once played for the New York Knicks was honored in Beijing with a commemorative postage stamp.
Stephon Marbury, a Coney Island native, has won three titles for the Beijing Ducks since he joined the Chinese team in 2011, The New York Post reported. He was named Finals MVP in March, when he led the Ducks to a victory over the Liaoning Flying Leopards, 106-98, delivering seven assists, five rebounds and four steals.
Beijing has feted the athlete in other ways, including a statue in front of the arena. There has been a musical production based on Marbury's life, and talks are underway for a biopic between Village Roadshow Pictures Asia and Beijing Hairun Pictures, Variety reported Monday.
Marbury's move to China has been life- and career-changing.
Before finding fame and fortune in China, Marbury was coping with several blows to his personal and professional life.
His career in the NBA was on the decline, the media jeered him for his flagging "Starbury" sneaker line, and his father passed away after suffering from a heart attack in 2007 while attending a game.
"I wanted to die. I wanted to kill myself some days," Marbury told Bryant Gumbel in an HBO interview in January.
That all changed after Marbury signed with the Chinese Basketball Association in 2010, and then joined the Beijing Ducks in 2011, where he was reborn as a star player. In 2014, he was named one of China's 10 "model citizens."
"I feel forever debted to China," Marbury said, according to the Post.
"I left one place where they were basically hating me. And I come to another place where they love me? I'm like, 'Why would I wanna go back to a place where they hate me? That makes no sense."