Stephon Marbury is a highly-talented point guard who spent about 13 years in the National Basketball Association (NBA) during which he starred for several teams including the New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns. He recorded some impressive achievements with these sides but his run was largely overshadowed by bad press, some of which were of his own making, so much so that the New York Post labeled him the most reviled athlete in New York sports history.
Marbury would eventually depart the NBA for the Chinese basketball league and it has turned out to be a match made in heaven. The former NBA star has played for several sides there and has won three CBA championships. This has made him a national hero throughout China and he now has museums, stamps, statutes, and the likes named after him. He has also been awarded a Chinese permanent residency, something that is only given to a handful of foreigners.
Marbury has truly found love and care in China and this has helped him blossom so much so that he is staying back in the country to pursue the next phase of his career as a coach.
His Glorious High School Days Which saw him Emerge New York’s Mr. Basketball
Stephon Marbury was born on the 20th of February, 1977, as the sixth out of seven kids. He was brought up in Brooklyn, New York City, and studied at NYC’s Abraham Lincoln High School. During his school years, he recorded several impressive feats on the basketball court and was awarded the prestigious title of Mr. Basketball in New York State right after his senior year. Mr. Basketball is the greatest award given annually by the New York Basketball Coaches Association to one senior high school player.
Stephon stood out as the next great point guard from NYC, predicted to follow the NBA stand-outs achievement of Mark Jackson and Kenny Anderson. He was one of the topics of Darcy Frey’s novel, The Last Shot, while still studying at Abraham Lincoln High School. The novel was about him and 3 other senior students, and it was all about the first months of his very first season with the school’s team. Stephon was designated a McDonald’s All-American in his senior year and was ranked as one of the country’s top five candidates in basketball that year. He was extensively pursued by several colleges but ultimately committed to Georgia Tech.
Marbury would spend just one year at Georgia Tech but it was one that would not be forgotten in a hurry. He steered the Yellow Jackets to a 24–12 record on their way to the NCAA tournament’s regional semi-final match. He also received several conference awards, including ACC Rookie of the year as well as First-Team All-ACC honors. Stephon was also nominated by the Associated Press as a Third Team All American and all these honors gave him the impetus to proclaim himself ready for the NBA draft of 1996.
How Stephon Marbury Helped the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Phoenix Suns Make it to the Playoffs.
Stephon Marbury was initially selected by the Milwaukee Bucks (with the fourth overall pick of the 1996 draft) but they immediately traded him to the Minnesota Timberwolves for draft rights and a future first-round pick. It was certainly a decision that the Bucks had come to rue as Marbury went on to excel in his first few years in the NBA. Holding down the point guard position for the Timberwolves, he averaged an impressive 15.8 points, 7.8 assists, and 2.7 rebounds per game. This fetched him several honors including a selection to the All-Rookie Team of the NBA for that season.
Marbury would continue in this same pattern for the next two seasons that he spent with the Timberwolves. Joining forces with prolific power forward, Kevin Garnett, he improved on his stats and was able to take the team to the playoffs in his second and third season with them. They, however, failed to make it beyond that stage and he left for the New Jersey Nets in 1998. Stephon Marbury spent two seasons at the Nets and they never reached the playoffs during his time with the squad owing to the reduced potential around him.
He, therefore, moved to the Phoenix Suns in 2001 and led the team to the playoffs with a much better cast of players around him. On an individual level, he also received two NBA All-Star awards during his three-year stay with the Suns, 2001 – 2004.
The Ugly Row with the New York Knicks and Ban from Playing and Practices
Throughout the early years of Stephon Marbury’s NBA career, one of his ultimate dreams remained to one day return home and play for his home team, the New York Knicks, at the famed Madison Square Garden. This dream troubled his mind all throughout the time he was toiling in places such as Minnesota and Arizona, and his wishes eventually came true when he was signed by the Knicks in 2004.
The contract excited the player and also got local fans buzzing as they dreamt of him taking them to the playoffs and even the championships. These nascent dreams were however dashed after Marbury became embroiled in quarrels with his coaches and some of his teammates during his five-year stay with the team. These quarrels stemmed from claims that he was not doing enough to help his team and his first coach at the side, Larry Brown, publicly called him out on it.
This did not go down well with Marbury and he and the coach had an altercation until the latter was fired in 2005/2006 season. Two more coaches were appointed but Marbury ended up bickering with them as well. Things got so bad that he was neither playing nor practicing and his team had to choice but to offload him in 2009. Following that unbundling, Marbury moved to the Boston Celtics and spent one uneventful year there before embarking on a sabbatical.
Winning Multiple CBA Championships and Emerging as a Mega-Star in China.
After taking some time off to clear his head, Stephon Marbury decided to make a return to a game he loved. The point guard, however, knew that he had to seek an environment that hadn’t been intoxicated by his past history. He, therefore, choose China and moved there in the year 2010.
Marbury would spend a total of eight years in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) during which he played for four teams including Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons, Foshan Dralions, Beijing Ducks as well as Beijing Fly Dragons. He had a highly decorated career; winning the CBA national championships thrice with the Beijing Ducks. He also received six CBA All-Star honors and was named the CBA finals MVP in 2015.
All these achievements spread Marbury’s fame all throughout China and he became a sort of national cultural hero in the country. The Brooklyn native is now so popular that he can’t utilize public transport anymore. He also gets access to VIP stands in the stadium and during local events, receives louder ovation than even movie stars. Stephon has been given the keys to the city of Beijing and has also received a Chinese permanent residency. A bronze statue of him has been unveiled in front of the Duck’s stadium and plays, chronicling his life, has been staged in the city.
Appointment as the Head Coach of the Beijing Royal Fighters
All these shows of love and affection from the Chinese people greatly impacted Marbury and as such, it was with tears and regrets that he played his final game on the 11th of February 2018. The point guard admitted that he was tired after playing for 22 years, and was 100% at peace with his decision to walk away from the game. He also added that ending his basketball career in China completes him.
Such feelings still hold to date and this is why Marbury has decided to stay back in China and commence his coaching career there. In June 2019, the former Knicks player signed a three-year contract with the Beijing Royal Fighters to serve as their head coach. It is still early days yet in this journey and there is not much to judge Stephon on. He has quite the work cut out for him as his side finished last in the standings – a year before his arrival.
How He Amassed a Fortune of Around $45 Million From Endorsements, Salaries, and his Starbury Apparel Brand
Stephon Marbury may have earned a bad boy reputation back in the day but one thing that can’t be denied about him is his altruistic nature. The former NBA star has never been about the money. Yes, he will demand his fair wages from his employers, but when it comes to endorsement deals, he isn’t all about the quick buck but is concerned with the big picture and making a lasting impact.
For instance, as a rookie, Marbury opted to sign with a relatively-unknown sneakers brand known as And1 rather than grab a deal with giants such as Nike or Adidas. Ten years down the line, he launched an affordable sneaker line in conjunction with Steve & Barry’s. The shoes retailed for just about $15 and the player stated that he did this because he wanted a reasonably priced line that would not attract a spate of thefts.
Such philosophy has helped Marbury to build an enduring brand known as Starbury. His shoes and clothes are now carried by thousands of 361 stores in China. He also has plans to expand to other Asian counties such as the Philippines, and this has provided him with a veritable source of income. Another money-spinning avenue for the player is endorsement deals with the likes of Red Bull, Casio, and G-Shock. These endorsement deals have fetched him tens of millions of dollars and he complements the same with the salaries he made during his career.
Marbury’s first contract was a three-year contract which paid him about $6.7 million. He then got bumped up to a $70.8 million deal for the next six years before signing a four-year agreement worth $73.4 million in 2005. Going by estimates, Marbury made about $150.53 million during his 13-year stay in the NBA. He then earned a little below $2 million per annum during his time in the CBA. All these, combined together with his endorsement fees and apparel sales, has helped the Brooklyn native build up an estimated worth of $45 million.
The former point guard is not one to embark on ostentatious displays of wealth and one of the few ways that one can grasp the true value of his wealth is charitable initiatives. The retired star has donated millions of dollars to fund crucial public service departments in New York including the police, emergency responders, and fire service. He has also assisted victims of natural disasters such as hurricane Katrina. In mid-2020, Marbury also donated millions of dollars’ worth of facemasks to assist the New York health care system during the coronavirus pandemic.
His Marriage Has Survived Allegations of Cheating on His Wife With His Personal Chef
Stephon Marbury is married to reality TV star and entrepreneur, Latasha Marbury. A native of North Carolina, Latasha was born in January 1976 and relocated to New York City in her 20s. She holds a degree in Zoology from North Carolina State University. She also has a degree in nursing from Fairleigh Dickinson University New Jersey. Latasha previously ran a children’s clothing business as well as a New York-based weave salon. She was also a cast member of the reality TV series, Basketball Wives, in season 5 of 2012.
Stephon and Latasha dated for a while before tying the knot on the 14th of September, 2002. The couple now have two children, Xaviera and Stephon, Jr. Stephon also has a daughter named Stephanie from a past relationship with his high school sweetheart. The former NBA star and his wife have been together for nearly two decades now and have survived some storms including a publicized cheating allegation that came to light in 2013.
As the story goes, Stephon had an affair with his personal chef, Thurrayah, in 2006. When the affair ended, he got the lady to sign an NDA in exchange for about $900,000. The player kept up with the agreement and paid about $600,000. He then stopped paying and Thurrayah dragged him to court. The court matter meant that the whole thing became public knowledge and Stephon was ordered to pay up the remaining sum. The scandal put a spotlight on Latasha but she kept a brave face and maintained she had healed and was moving on with her life. According to her, she can’t go back and erase the past and as such, she is not going to let it overshadow her life.