As former Knick Stephon Marbury nears retirement, he looks back on a career that he considers to be Hall of Fame worthy.
Marbury, who begun his professional basketball career in 1996 after being drafted fourth overall by the Timberwolves, hasn't played in the NBA since 2009. After the 2008/09 season, he blazed a path to China that has been followed by many former NBA players since he made the move.
"My numbers are Hall of Fame. That's first," Marbury told Marc Spears of The Undefeated. "You look at guys who have never won championships on the globe, they are in the Hall of Fame. Two, what I have done to help basketball globally to bridge the gap from America to China, with China being one of the main components on the Earth for basketball, that right there alone should bridge that gap."
In his NBA career, Marbury averaged 19.3 points and 7.6 assists per game. He played four-and-a-half years with the Knicks, his best coming in 2004-05 when he averaged 21.7 points and 8.1 assists per game.
"I have three championships in a country where I don't speak the language," Marbury said. "People don't even know how hard it is to play in China. People think it is easy for the foreign players, but it is really not. It's difficult. You can ask JR [Smith] and Tracy [McGrady]. It's not just about your ability to score. It's just about being able to try to win."
In China, Marbury is a three-time CBA champion as well as a six-time All-Star. There's a statue of him outside the Beijing Ducks' arena.
"I have accomplished so much in a place where basketball has taken off, heightened and gone to a whole other level. And I had something to do with it. I'm not a younger player seeing all this. I am an older playing seeing all this. So I am in a moment seeing that happening while it's happening. Everything is all transparent while it's taking place."
Marbury is considering his Hall of Fame bonafides as he prepares to retire. His Beijing Fly Dragons will not make the playoffs this year, so his basketball career will end when the CBA regular season ends on February 11th.
"I'm tired, man. I'm tired. I played 22 years," Marbury said. "It's all good. I'm straight with how it is right now. I like being able to have control over going out the way I want to go out. I'm 100 percent at peace with it. One hundred percent."
Marbury turns 41 on February 20 and said he's going to keep himself in shape 'just in case' an NBA team comes calling this season.