Marbury: First finals in 16-year basketball career
Updated: 2012-03-20 20:52
By Stephon Marbury (chinadaily.com.cn)
I have always prayed and hoped that God would one day bless me and allow one of my biggest dreams in life to come true. On Sunday, it finally did.
After playing professional basketball for more than 15 years, in the NBA and the CBA, my Beijing Ducks teammates and I won Game 5 of the semifinals against the Shanxi Brave Dragons and now we are headed to the CBA Finals!
We won the game, 110-98, and the playoff series 3-2. I led my team in scoring with 30 points, eight assists and nine rebounds.
A big reason we won is because of our fans, who supported us by filling every seat in our home arena.
It took me three years to reach the CBA Finals. In fact, this will be the first finals that I will ever play in.
And, let me tell you, it has been one exciting roller-coaster ride getting here.
I know it was no one but God and the CBA that gave me the opportunity to resurrect my pro basketball career and continue to play the game I love so much.
I did not know what to expect when I first came to China. But one thing is for sure — I was getting a new start to my life that I really needed.
Yes, I needed to grow and had some things to prove. One was to show that I still had basketball moves on what my four brothers and I call the dance floor.
A scripture in the bible comes to mind whenever I think of my first days in China. Proverbs 16:9 states, "A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps."
You never know when and where God will take you on this journey called life. Mine led me from my native country, the United States, to the Far East.
Ever since I arrived, I have spoken about winning a CBA championship.
A lot of people thought I was crazy for thinking this way. I did not mind though, because it was my thought and my vision.
I am the type of person who has faith, and is willing to stand alone and up for what I believe in. I do believe we have a real shot at beating the Guangdong Tigers, who are a basketball dynasty.
Fortunately, I learned a few things about basketball dynasties when I played half an NBA season for the Boston Celtics.
The Celtics have won 17 championships because of their ability to always stay together and remain focused. Another thing, players checked their ego at the door.
The Celtics won an NBA championship the year before I signed, and were on a quest to win another.
What I noticed during game preparation was the team's willingness to sacrifice to win.
I cannot lie. It was a tough challenge for me because I was the new guy and did not play much. On top of that, I went from starting to coming off the bench and playing a lot some nights, to not playing at all.
But when I was not playing and sitting on the bench, I watched and learned a lot. That helped me to step up my game and become a better leader — the one I am today.
Fortunately, my life has gotten better and I am so thankful to God for that and every opportunity I have had.
Do not get me wrong. Things have not always been pleasant, but I have grown as a result.
My faith and commitment to God helped me get to where I am this season, and climb the emotional uphill battle of reaching the CBA Finals.
The tears you saw me cry after the game on Sunday were tears of joy. I call them happy tears, and shedding happy tears reveals your soul smiling and the true essence of what God can do when you have faith and believe in him.
I believe in my Beijing Ducks teammates and myself, plus, us doing what many people think is impossible.
Regardless, I am standing on faith, praying and trusting in God once again to bless us to achieve our season's goal. And, of course, that is winning the CBA title
Yes, I am a believer that God can do the impossible and dreams do come true.
Love is love.
The author is former NBA star Stephon Marbury, now a player with Chinese basketball club Beijing Ducks.