By Guan Weijia
BEIJING — About two decades ago, there was a popular Chinese soap opera called A Native of Beijing in New York. The soap was one way Chinese people started getting a view of the American way of life.
Now, in China, there is an ex-NBA star living a reality show of his own, showing people all over the world the Chinese way of life. I think we can call the show A New Yorker in Beijing.
Stephon Marbury, the two-time NBA All-Star, has joined in Beijing Ducks this season, his third in the CBA.
Last January, as the most famous international player in the league history, he began working for Shanxi Zhongyu. He played 15 games with averages of 22.9 points, 9.5 assists and 2.6 steals.
In the 2010 CBA All-Star Game, he had 30 points and 10 assists, becoming the MVP of the night. In the next season, he played for the Foshan Dralions, but neither Shanxi nor Foshan got into the playoffs.
During his first two years in China, Beijing, the capital, became Marbury’s favorite city. He had a chance to sign with the Beijing Ducks last year, but the Ducks chose Steve Francis over him at that time. On Oct. 7, Marbury landed in this city and began his latest voyage. He cannot remember that how many times he has been to Beijing. He used to hang out with his friends and watch the games of Beijing Guoan, the city’s soccer team.
Now, he says he feels at home.
“Beijing will be my home, and I am going to be a native,” said.
Sitting in a car, Marbury showed how familiar he is with Beijing, “This is Dongdan, I know, the street field, the Rucker Park of Beijing, I played there once. I know Wangfujin, too. There are so many shops in which I feel like I am in the U.S. if there are not Chinese people around me. Beijing is an amazing city, we can see so much beautiful architecture. The street is full of history. Every step is telling a story. ”
In Beijing, Marbury will team with another American player, Randolph Morris, who played in the NBA for 3 years with the Knicks and Hawks before playing or the Ducks last season and becoming the team’s leading scorer. Morris lives in Wangfujin, the most famous business area, and Marbury decided to be his neighbor.
Another reason why Marbury chose that particular neighborhood is the subway station there. A superstar taking the subway to work? Sounds unbelievable (although maybe not to Matt Bonner, who did it in Toronto), but in Marbury’s opinion, it is not weird at all.
“I grew up in New York. When I was a kid, we didn’t have lots of money and took the subway to destinations. I know there are numerous people in the Beijing subway, but it is the same in New York.”
Morris is happy to have Marbury around, partly because they can hang out to have fun, and partly because Marbury promised to cook for him. “I am a nice cook,” Marbury said, “I can cook great fried chicken and rice.” Morris added: ”If he lies, I will tell you journalists.”
Don’t count on Marbury showing off his cooking skills during the first days of camp, because it is exhausting. Marbury felt tired because of the time difference. “But I will be OK very soon. I am ready to win now. We want nothing but the championship.”
Some other items of note from China:
Yi Jianlian has signed for Guangdong Dongguan, and he will play in the CBA in the coming season. Before leaving for the NBA, Dongguan was Yi’s home team. The CBA did not allow any player but Yi to have an out-clause in his contract. Once the lockout ends, Yi can go back to the U.S. and sign with an NBA team.
A source told me Sebastian Telfair is going to sign with the Jiangsu Dragons, who earlier signed Dan Gadzuric.
Here is a complete list of players who have moved from the NBA to the CBA, or who have returned to the CBA.
Wilson Chandler Zhejiang Guangsha
Kenyon Martin Xinjiang Guanghui
Josh Powell Liaoning Panpan
J.R. Smith Zhejiang Chouzhou
Dan Gadzuric Jiangsu Dragons
Shavlik Randolph Dongguan Leopards
Cartier Martin Jilin Northeast Tigers
James Singleton Guangdong Dongguan
Quincy Douby Xinjiang Guanghui
Othello Hunter Shandong Lions
Alan Anderson Shandong Lions
Randolph Morris Beijing Ducks
Stephon Marbury Beijing Ducks
Marcus Williams Shanxi Zhongyu
Guan Weijia is a columnist for Titan Sports, The Beijing News and qq.com. His columns for SheridanHoops.com will appear every Wednesday. For even more on Chinese Basketball, we recommend John Pastuszek’s blog, http://www.niubball.com/.