People are calling Stephon Marbury’s Chinese movie trailer “terrifyingly intense” and “super dramatic,” but judging by what I know of the Stephon Marbury story and the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) in general, there might be a more appropriate description: pretty accurate.
First, go watch the trailer for My Other Home (the Chinese title translates literally to, “I Am Marbury”). As Slam rightfully notes, “looks like the movie’s going to be legitimately good.” Look at the crowds chanting, the crying, the on-court brawl. Look at Marbury slicing through the defense, seemingly un-guardable.
This all really happened.
You have to understand: Stephen Marbury, the Coney Island native and former USA basketball Dream Teamer, is without a doubt the greatest and most influential foreigner in the history of the Chinese Basketball Association. He led the Beijing Ducks, his CBA team of the last six years (before his unceremonious release this spring), to three championships, including their first in 2012. That year, he scored 52 and 53 points in back-to-back games in the semifinals against Shanxi. In that same series, he was (spuriously) accused of sending a fan to a hospital (“He got a wild imagination,” Marbury said), leading to a wild post-game scene in which Shanxi fans blocked the Beijing team bus. After winning the series in the final game — and being serenaded with MVP chants from his home crowd, causing him to shed tears — the Beijing Ducks would go on to face the Guangdong Southern Tigers, the team that had won the previous four CBA championships. (Think about that for a second, and how perfectly the Marbury-as-underdog story lines up here.) The series was marked by incredibly dirty play from the Southern Tigers, who must have known they would one day become movie villains, with Marbury being told “fuck you” by an opponent. But no one could stop Marbury that series. In the series-clinching fifth game, he scored 41, with seven assists to boot.
There’s so much more, including getting a book, a bronze statue, a postage stamp, honorary Beijing citizenship plus key to the city, and a finals MVP award in 2015 after leading Beijing to its second straight championship (and third in four years). Marbury received a Chinese green card last year. Do you have any idea how hard it is for foreigners to get one of those in China?
This was all for a New Yorker who washed out in New York, who was booed by his home fans, exiled from the NBA, and began his first season in China in the boondocks of Shanxi. Few stories feature the dramatic arc of this one, and it’s almost cliched: a man finding a new start half a world away; the redemption story ending in utter triumph; a forsaken man finding a new home in a foreign land. After his release from the Ducks, Marbury posted on his Chinese social media page (as spotted by Sports Illustrated):
I have not decided which team yet But there is one thing I’m 100% sure of no matter the team I play for the love between me and the club is always there, we will keep working with each other in the future. No matter where I am, I am a Beijinger. Beijing is my home forever.
There will be a full-length feature film about Stephon Marbury. I can only hope it’s as dramatic as real life.