2012 was truly a year to treasure
Updated: 2013-01-02 07:32
When I reflect on 2012, I thank God that I have some really fond memories.
I love that a few of my family members were recently here in China for a month. We created and celebrated priceless moments, including my mother Mabel's birthday.
But, the highlight of my year was my Beijing Ducks teammates, coaches and I winning the 2011-2012 CBA Championship. And, oh, I can't leave out me being immortalized in the People's Republic of China.
I was amazed that one million fans voted in just one week to have a life-size statue of me created since the Chinese league rules stipulate that a foreign-born player cannot win the MVP award during the CBA Finals.
From the day my bronze statue was unveiled in May to this day, I feel like I am in a dream. I am deeply humbled and moved to receive such a great honor. Truthfully, I'm still in shock that my likeness holding up the trophy is eternally rooted in the soil in front of Beijing's MasterCard Center.
When I first saw the statue, I could see every crossover, every jump shot and even every dunk that I took as well as the many assists that I made and the countless hours I spent on the court over the past 30 years.
Being immortalized was really beyond my comprehension. It was an emotional day for me which is why I was so glad my older sister, Marcia, was in China to share in the statue ceremony. I never thought I would forever be remembered in this way, especially not in my adopted homeland.
That is why I found myself asking how does a kid from Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York, realize his childhood dream of making it out of the ghetto to the NBA, then wind up winning a CBA championship and then getting immortalized?
I know it is only because of God who gave me my heart's desires and so much more. God knows that if it had not been for my teammates and coaches as well as us winning a CBA title after making history by going undefeated the first 13 games of last season, a monument of me would have never been erected.
For that, I will always be grateful to the entire Ducks organization and the fans, especially the fans in Beijing.
I remember when I first arrived in Beijing, many people doubted the Ducks could win big. People outright asked me "Can the Ducks really win a CBA championship?" My reply was simple: 'Yes, we can', and we did!
But, at first, even my teammates thought I was just talking because a number of foreign players before me said the same thing, yet they seemed unwilling to put in the hard work to win it all.
Soon enough my teammates and coaches realized I was for real, and they were too. So, while I was getting in tip-top shape working tirelessly the whole summer in the United States for our season-long quest, my teammates and coaches were on the same mission in China. I trained for hours each day lifting weights and running the mountains in Los Angeles, California, at a place called Runyon Canyon. Training so hard convinced my teammates and definitely me that the possibility of knocking off the perennial powerhouse, the Guangdong Tigers, en route to the CBA championship, was, in fact, achievable.
Then came the preseason, and coach Min Lulei's practices.
Every muscle in my body ached after going through just one of the coach's six-hour practices. So, just imagine how I felt after his sixth straight practice!
The coach is just a practicing machine! He's a perfectionist also! To him, the game is only made easy when my teammates and I have perfected the plays which take, you guessed it, practice.
While my immediate family and mother were in town for about a month, I took them to see my statue. Man, let me tell you, witnessing the look on their faces was an out-of-body experience for me. At first, their eyes widened until they eventually shed tears of joy. My wife, children and my mom were so moved at how the Chinese people had chosen to recognize me. That's love.
In basketball news, we played a thriller on the road against the Guangdong Tigers on Christmas Day. The atmosphere was of championship intensity. It was a back-and-forth game for all four quarters. Our defense won the game for us as we switched from man to man to zone in the fourth and forced the Tigers to take outside shots that they missed. We won the game by 10 points. We also won on Sunday, and now we are in first place. I sure hope we remain there, and keep piling up the wins this season.
I also sincerely hope that this past year you created many special memories like me and you continue to do so in the new year.
Cheers! May you have an abundance of great health, wealth, prosperity and love in 2013.
Love is love.
Stephon Marbury can be reached at email@example.com.
(China Daily 01/02/2013 page11)