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Stephon Marbury clarified to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Chavez that it was he who reached out to an NBA team to gauge interest on a return. The 40-year-old two-time All-Star has openly talked about coming back to play in North America in recent days, but added that could also mean signing up with the BIG3.
“I do want to get on the court,” Marbury told SI. “I want to finish my career playing basketball in China, playing basketball in America and possibly playing in the BIG3.”
Marbury is slated to play his final season in China this year for the Beijing Fly Dragons. He’s played since 2010 in the Chinese Basketball Association, the last six seasons with the Beijing Ducks.
Regardless of where he ends up playing however, Marbury believes his name should ultimately reside at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.
“My numbers are Hall of Fame. That’s it,” he said. “My mark on basketball globally is beyond … it’s never been done before. Something that’s never been done before obviously, you have to show homage to that.”
Strictly looking at his NBA numbers from 1996-2009, Marbury may not have a Hall of Fame case – although he did average 19.3 points in 846 games. However, he has a point. The building in Springfield is called the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, not the “NBA Hall of Fame.” The Hall has criteria for international inductees as well, not to mention controversial choices like active college coaches.
While the level of competition Marbury faced in China is nowhere near NBA caliber – some compare it, at best, to the NCAA’s Big Sky Conference – his contribution to the global game is significant. The point guard has reached legend status in China, having been the face of a growing league for the past decade.
An eventual Marbury Hall of Fame induction would further mythologize the vaunted 1996 draft class. Allen Iverson is already in the Hall, with Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant, and Steve Nash guaranteed to follow.