Stephon Marbury holds the MVP trophy after winning the finals on March 22. Photo: Xinhua
Stephon Marbury powered Beijing to their second straight Chinese basketball league title and third overall championship since joining the team four years ago.
The 38-year-old former NBA standout was named the finals MVP for the first time following Beijing's 106-98 victory over the Liaoning Leopards on Sunday night in the northeastern city of Shenyang.
Marbury averaged 29.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists and two steals over the best-of-seven series, which Beijing won 4-2. In the final game, he racked-up 24 points, five rebounds, seven assists and four steals.
“I said I wanted to build a dynasty in Beijing,” Marbury told reporters in the locker room after the game. “People called me crazy… I’m just thankful and I’m humble.”
"This year, a lot of people criticized me, saying I was old, that I couldn't play anymore. But I turned all that into fuel," said Marbury, who struggled during the season with a knee injury.
"When we won the first championship, people said we couldn't get another. After the second, people said you guys can't repeat. Establishing a dynasty has always been my goal and my motivation," Marbury said.
"Stephon deserves the award," said Beijing coach Min Lulei. "He is the one and only. I hope he can continue playing like this next season."
Beijing wanted Marbury as much as he wanted Beijing. Beijing needed a certain type of point guard, an experienced ball handler, to execute Min's strategy.
His younger Chinese teammates jokingly gave him a Chinese military position - "Zhengwei" or political commissar, whose work includes education, discipline inspection and uniting officers and soldiers.
Marbury gives orders on court and offers advice and encouragement off court.
The former NBA All-Star has found peace and success in his adopted hometown and he says he is grateful.
Marbury was one of the faces of the laughably dysfunctional Knicks of the mid-2000s, when a declining sneaker line and the sudden death of his father had him “wanting to kill” himself.
After a stint with Boston, the Coney Island product jettisoned the NBA in 2010 and reinvented himself in China.
Outside Beijing's home court Wukesong Stadium stands a Marbury statue built by his fans. In April 2014, the American was named honorary citizen of Beijing.