Stephon Marbury’s Chinese Basketball Career Gets Major Love From NBA Vet

NEW YORK - MARCH 08: (L-R) Jamal Crawford and Stephon Marbury of the New York Knicks watch on from the bench against the Portland Trail Blazers at Madison Square Garden March 8, 2008 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Stephon Marbury wrote his basketball career his way.

He recently said the most profound thing to SLAM. “I made a sacrifice leaving America and look what happened,” he said.

“Green card, two statues, a museum. Come on, I’m a black kid from Coney Island.”

That’s powerful.

The fourth pick in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, Marbury had stints with the New Jersey Nets Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks and Boston Celtics from 1996-2009.

The two-time NBA All-Star has career averages of 19.3 points and 7.6 points per game. He left the NBA and played basketball in China in their CBA League, broke multiple records and is currently the head coach of the Beijing Royal Fighters.

One person who saw Marbury’s evolution is former NBA player, Marreese Speights. Speights will spend his first season in Ice Cube’s Big 3 this summer. On this week’s episode of the Scoop B Radio Podcast, we discussed the league, as well as why Marbury became the cream of the crop in China.

Check out our Q&A below:

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: You’re playing in the BIG3 this summer. You guys get a lot of exposure. Who are looking forward to the most playing in the BIG3 this coming summer?

Marreese Speights: It’s nobody I’m looking forward to, I just want to go out there and see how it feels to be playing out there. It’s a little different. You’re playing 3 on 3 half court in front of all these people. So it’s going to be a little different. I’m not looking for anybody because for me I have to look at the roster and see who’s all on there. Ain’t nobody I’m looking forward to playing right now, but I know it’s going to be fun though. I got a lot of old teammates and old buddies that I talk to all the time that’s going to be playing, so I know they’re going to try to go at me with something.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: You spent time overseas playing in the CBA. I would imagine that during your time playing in the CBA, you saw the influence of Stephon Marbury had or has in China.

Marreese Speights: Oh yeah. He’s big over there.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: You talk about Allen Iverson getting love. What does the Chinese/ CBA seem like with Stephon Marbury out there?

Marreese Speights: This man has his own store, he has his own statue in front of the arena. I guess that’s unheard of for a guy to have something like that. He’s definitely THAT guy over there in all aspects of life, and now he’s coastin’ over there. I know they would like that better. It just shows man, he left the NBA, went over there, made a lot of money playing basketball, had fun, and I try to tell these kids all the time it’s a small percentage of kids that make the NBA. Making the NBA is hard. It’s really hard. That’s why everybody doesn’t make it.

But if you have the opportunity to go somewhere else, and make money and support your family, do it. Don’t put all your eggs in and try to make the NBA and that’s it. No. It’s a LOT of money across that water. A lot of money. That’s what I try to tell these young guys the NBA is cool, that’s every kid’s dream, but if there’s an opportunity to go overseas and make money, do it. Go. You will never make this much money outside of basketball. Experience life, go overseas and enjoy it, man. At the end of the day, it’s basketball. And that’s what you dream of doing: playing professional basketball. That’s how I think about it

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: What is something that you’re working on outside of basketball that is of great passion for you?

Marreese Speights: I just started my 18-wheel trucking business. That’s something that I had found that I really loved. It’s something that had been doing for the last three weeks that it’s really been successful and with the organizations with my kids, coaching my AAU team 17U team, but have 3rd and 4th-grade teams, and 9th and 10th-grade teams. The culture on that is — That’s something which is my passion: helping kids come out of certain situations and go to college.

Over the last 10 years, I probably got 100 kids to go to college and over the last 3 years, I’ll probably have 25 to 30 kids to go to college. So I always want to look out for the kids, do that and help my family and all that kind of stuff so, the AAU organization is something that I really like doing. I have an organization here in Florida and an organization in California. My buddy Eddie Brown runs the organization out there in Cali. He’s been doing a great job doing that and then here I got my coaches from Coach T, Coach Sac, Coach Zo, Coach Steve and all of those guys for the younger team. All those guys always hold it down for me when I’m not around so I appreciate them.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Mo help me understand something. I went to grad school at Hofstra University. I was often around Charles Jenkins, your former teammate with the Warriors. He had his jersey retired in his last season with Hofstra while he was playing. I looked at your bio and noticed you went to three different high schools. You went to Admiral Farragut Academy, Hargrave Military Academy and then you went to Gibbs High school. You had your jersey retired after one year. Bro! What were you eating and what were you doing on the court that you got your jersey retired after your first season?

Marreese Speights: You talking about with Farragut?

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Yeah!

Marreese Speights: I don’t know man… I was just always a good kid. Going out there and playing hard every night and that was like a big honor to get your jersey retired. I got it retired at Hargrave ALSO…

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: But you got your jersey retired after your freshman year!

Marreese Speights:
Naw, it wasn’t my freshman year, it was my fourth year at Farragut. I went to public school [Gibbs] for my first three years –

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson:
Well then Wikipedia needs their ass kicked because it says you played at: “St. Petersburg Admiral Farragut Academy which retired his jersey after one year” …

Marreese Speights: Yes. That was my fourth year there. I transferred there after I left public school.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Well you still a bad boy man, because everybody doesn’t get their jersey number retired.

Marreese Speights: Yeah I was shocked myself [laughs]… I’m not gonna lie. I was shocked.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson:
You were listed as the No. 13 power forward and the No. 51 ranked player in the nation in 2006. Who do you remember going toe-to-toe with in high school nationally?

Marreese Speights: Pierre Niles [Pierre Henderson-Niles/ college: Memphis]. You know who that is?

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Yeah I know the name.

Marreese Speights:
Pierre Niles was a beast! That was somebody he from Memphis man, that a lot of people don’t know of. Big body, strong, fast. Then the Lopez twins [college: Stanford]. They played with EBO [Elite Basketball Organization/ AAU]…Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez those guys who I was competing against a lot. Dwayne Chisolm, Duke Crews [college: Bowie State], those guys like that man, I really remembered competing against all the time.

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