When Stephon Marbury played in the NBA he used to go by “Starbury.”

It seems like a lifetime ago. In more ways than one, it was.

Marbury was a polarizing figure when he played. Described as “the most reviled athlete in New York” by The New York Daily News after fights with coaches led to their firings and Marbury being banned from the Knicks.

It’s a bizarre tale, but it has a happy ending.

Marbury Is At The Top In China

Marbury, a Brooklyn native, was a standout at Georgia Tech, then selected fourth over by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1996.

As a rookie, Marbury averaged 15.8 points and 7.8 assists per game and was named to the 1997 All-Rookie Team. Marbury and second-year forward Kevin Garnett led the Timberwolves to playoff berths in 1997 and 1998, but during the lock-out shortened 1999 season, Marbury demanded a trade.

At the time, some reported he wanted to be closer to his family back east, while other reports stated he hated Minneapolis and was jealous of Garnett, who had become the T-Wolves’ brightest star.

Marbury And KG Started Off As A Great Team

Whatever the reasons behind the trade demand were, Marbury was sent to New Jersey and flourished.

He was selected as a reserve for the 2001 All-Star Game, where he hit two 3-pointers in the final 53 seconds, including the game-winner with :28 left.

He scored a career-high 50 points against the Lakers in an OT loss in 2001, but despite his individual efforts, the Nets failed to make the playoffs every year Marbury was there.

All-Star In The U.S. And China

In the 2001 offseason, the Nets sent Marbury to the Suns for Jason Kidd other compensation. In Phoenix, Marbury was named to his second All-Star team in 2003. With a sufficient starting lineup which also included Amar’e Stoudemire and Shawn Marion, Marbury was back in the playoffs.

But once again, something seemed off.

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