Stephon Marbury once again garnered the public's attention, this time as the head coach for the Beijing Royal Fighters. He led the team to a victory over Shenzhen Aviators on Saturday to mark a great start of their 2019-2020 CBA season.
It's the first win for Stephon Marbury as the team's head coach; it's also the very first time for Marbury to head coach a professional basketball team. Looking back, it's hard not to be amazed by this legendary story: The transformation from a player in the NBA to a head coach in the CBA.
In the world of professional sports, there is a considerable number of athletes who become less heard of due to a transformations of roles. A transfer or an injury may have a huge impact on a player, becoming a stumbling block on their way towards glory. However, every change of roles Marbury had so far proved amazingly successful.
Once a talented megastar in NBA, Marbury came to China in 2010 and committed to playing for the Beijing Ducks for the subsequent nine years. Not only has the playing environment changed, so did his personality, which transformed from the "Lone Wolf" to a team leader, even a cultural icon for Beijing.
Compared to other players who once played in NBA and later chose to come to CBA, Marbury's success with his CBA experience is difficult to imitate. He once teamed with Kevin Garnett at the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he got the name "sole wolf" for handling the ball for too long. He later got transferred to several teams where his "individualism" still played a role. While he played for New York Knicks, he was labeled "the most lamented New York player."
It seemed to be a sudden change when he came to CBA and led the Beijing Ducks to win three championships in 2012, 2014, and 2015.
In this regard, former NBA player Shaquille O'Neal can well speak to Marbury's adaptability. "It amazes me that he can adapt to Chinese culture and the way of living, while at the same time, maintaining his superb basketball skills and competitiveness."
"Unlike many players with an impoverished upbringing, he didn't lose his self-judgment to fame."
Marbury blends in Beijing's life style. He takes the metro to the stadium for training; he goes to eat hotpot with his teammates, he cheers for the local football team and he speaks out for local marginalized groups. On the court, young players on the team modeled their way after Marbury, admiring his commitment to the game. His example for Beijing and the team goes beyond being a simple foreign player.
In this season, Marbury undergoes another change of roles.It's the first time for him to head coach a professional basketball team. Telling from the result of the first game, he delivered a decent performance. The first opening game win is also the first victory over Shenzhen Aviators in Beijing Royal Fighters' history.
During the game, Marbury had a technical foul because he was unfamiliar with his position on the court, a testament to the fact it is indeed his first time to be head coach. But besides that, Marbury's composure speaks in contrast to other rookie head coaches' body language, igniting fans' hope for the team.
In his time as a player, Marbury reached many accomplishments. These became a thing of the past as he picks up the coaching baton. The most important task for him at the moment is to try and learn. As he admitted during interviews, his number one learning model is the former head coach of Beijing Ducks, Coach Min Lulei.
"The things I learnt the most from him is the preparation for the game. He is committed to his work. Even though it may not work out in the beginning, the system began to work once he had all pieces ready," Marbury said.
Undoubtedly, Marbury was successful as a player, even though his change of roles has been accompanied by a good start, it is still a long way to go for him. However, the boldness to rise up to the challenges is equally admirable.