It’s not surprising that some professional athletes playing abroad want to return to their home country after a year or two away. But what about if an athlete hasn’t played at home for eight years and still wants to come back? That’s not something you see every day.
However, 40-year old NBA veteran Stephon Marbury falls into that category, and he posted on Instagram today that he wants to return to the NBA after playing in China for the last eight years.
I'm making a #nba come back for the fans who want to see me play my last year as a pro. After hearing so many people say come back I finally prayed about it and gave it major thought. I thought the perfect ending would of been retiring with the Beijing Ducks but it's clear the GM had other thoughts which is fine. My love for the ducks will always be A1 from day 1. I still have a lot of go in me as a player and at 40 being able to play at a high level is a gift. Being able to stay mentally focused and physically fit takes a different type of discipline. I'm motivated to make this the best year of my career as I end a 21 year long journey in the game I love. It's been a blessing to play 13 years in the @nba and this year 9 years in the @cbachina China has groomed my game and my style of play. China made me sharp and consistent. We practice Monday-Wed from 9-11:45 and 3-5:45. Thursday one practice 9-11:45 and Friday-Sat same schedule as M-W. I thought I would die at first coming from the NBA where you can't practice that long before the season starts. Oh and we do that for over 40 days. This way of training can either break you or make you. I'd like to look at it as it made me. So I'm ready and prepared to take on a challenge I once faced but with chips under my belt along with all that has come with winning chips in China. Statues, museum, green card, Honorary citizen, ambassador for the environmental protection bureau, key to the city, only 30 people ever to receive the key to the city of Beijing and MY PEACE something no one can ever take. So with all of these things I feel complete and ready to turn towards the last page of my basketball dairy that I've been writing since 95 when I left Lincoln High. I thank all of the positive energy from all those who showed it throughout my time away from the NBA. Thank you for always keeping it 100. @stephonmarbury_3 @espn @marcjspears @nytimes @nypost @nydailynews @newsday @slamonline #starburymovement #starbuy #loveislove
Marbury has been playing in China since 2010, and actually has a contract he intends to fulfill for the 2017-18 season. But once the Chinese season ends, he wants to finish his career in the States.
Marbury is expected to live up to his one-year contract with the Beijing Fly Dragons during the 2017-18 Chinese Basketball Association season and retire from the league afterward, a source said. Once the CBA season is over, which could be as early as March, the 40-year-old would like to return to the NBA after a long hiatus and retire from playing in the league.
The NBA regular season ends in the second week of April, and given that the CBA season typically runs through mid to late February, that wouldn’t give Marbury much time to find a new team.
But by that time of the year, plenty of NBA teams will already be out of playoff contention, and one of them could bring in Marbury just to get some extra attention over the final weeks of the season. However, given the way his tenure with the New York Knicks ended in 2009, I think that’s one team we can officially rule out of the eventual Starbury sweepstakes.