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Marbury in the mix for Beijing coaching job

By SUN XIAOCHEN | Updated: 2019-05-17 09:29

Fifteen months after his retirement from professional basketball, three-time CBA champion Stephon Marbury is poised to return to China's national league as a head coach.

Stephon Marbury watches a game between the New York Liberty and China's national women's team on May 9 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

According to a report on Beijing Sports Radio, the former NBA All-Star, who led the Beijing Ducks to three CBA titles from 2012-15, is negotiating with his last CBA franchise, Beikong Fly Dragons, to join the Beijing-based club as its head coach starting next season.

Marbury, who returned to Beijing this week from a visit to the United States, did not reply to China Daily's enquiry about the negotiations on Thursday, but Beikongs' media officer confirmed to Beijing Sports Radio on Wednesday that Marbury, who retired in February 2018, is a major candidate and is being seriously considered by the Fly Dragons ownership.

After parting ways with the Ducks in 2016, the 42-year-old New York native joined crosstown Beikong for his 22nd pro season after being drafted fourth overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1996 NBA draft. His presence didn't prevent Beikong from finishing a dismal 17th (9-29) in the 20-team league.

While neither Marbury nor the club has confirmed the negotiations, the business adjustment of a youth basketball development program, co-founded by Marbury last year, indicates the career of the 2015 CBA Finals MVP is shifting back to a proactive role in the game.

After establishing the Stronger Me Basketball Camp with partner Beijing Guotai Sports in May 2018, Marbury said the program would be at the core of his post-athletic career.

"His involvement will only be a part of the training programs we offer to the young players and will possibly only happen during the summer break. The program will focus on promoting its own brand rather than using his name in marketing," a staff member of Beijing Guotai Sports told China Daily on condition of anonymity.

Since the opening of the camp at the Affiliated High School of Peking University last summer, Marbury has been active in hands-on coaching, curriculum development and talent selection of the program built for children aged 6-18.

Although having never coached a professional club full-time, Marbury's leadership, work ethic, knowledge of the Chinese league and his experience mentoring younger teammates earned him favor from players and fans alike.

Marbury got his first taste of barking instructions from the sideline during the basketball prelims at the 2013 National Games in Chongqing, when Beijing's then head coach Min Lulei invited him to be an assistant at the competition.

"I've made no secret that I want to coach basketball here in China and I want to be part of the growth and development here. This is definitely the beginning," Marbury said later.

Marbury left the NBA to join the CBA's Shanxi Brave Dragons in 2010, and a year later joined the Foshan Dralions (now Guangzhou Longlions) before launching a seven-year stint with the Ducks, from 2011-17.

He led the Ducks to three CBA championships in six seasons (2012, 2014 and 2015) and was named the CBA Foreign MVP in 2013 and CBA Finals MVP in 2015.

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