Stephon Marbury hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since May 2009—an eight-plus-year hiatus he hopes to end soon.
The point guard, who has spent the better part of a decade establishing himself as a living legend on China’s basketball circuit, delivered a quasi announcement on his Instagram account, which stated he plans to finish his career as a stateside pro.
Here’s the caption from his video:
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.
For good measure, Marbury tagged some prominent sports papers, sites and writers at the end of his post, as if his announcement would need some sort of push for exposure.
Anyway, this thing is real. Marbury wants back in the NBA, a surprising development given that this hasn’t really been a topic of discussion for some time. It seemed as if he moved on, not temporarily, but for good.
The chances of him securing a return, though, feel slim—if they exist at all. Anything is possible; Josh Childress now has a partially-guaranteed contract with the Denver Nuggets after his BIG3 stint, but Marbury has been out of the league for almost a decade, and his stock at the time of his departure, when he was barely 32, hit rock bottom.
Would a team like the Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Timberwolves, Brooklyn Nets or New York Knicks sign him to a novel contract, just so he can say he retired as an NBA player? Maybe. But the idea that a team will give him a long, hard look before or during next season feels like a stretch.