- (Photograph: Twitter/Stephon Marbury)
Stephon Marbury, 35-year-old former NBA All-Star and Christian athlete who began playing for the Chinese Basketball Association in 2010, will have his own bronze statue built in the country at the request of one million Chinese fans.
Marbury brought the Bejing Ducks basketball team their first CBA championship this year. Since a clause in the CBA prevents a foreign-born player from receiving an MVP title, Chinese fans wanted to express their gratitude to the Brooklyn-born Marbury by starting an online campaign at www.hoopchina.com to create a statue in his honor.
After one week, over one million people signed onto the campaign to have a bronze statue made in Marbury's honor. The statue will capture the image of the athlete holding his championship trophy in the air while seemingly screaming in excitement.
The former-NBA star said he felt blessed for the opportunity and took to his Twitter account to thank God.
"A statue of a black man in China. I can't begin to tell you how good God is to me," Marbury tweeted. "God can turn anything around!"
Marbury, who has bounced around to several NBA teams before landing in China was well-known for public spats with his former hometown New York Knicks coaches, Larry Brown and Isaiah Thomas. However, the former NBA all-star tweeted about God leading him to play for another league, which resulted in his first championship and high honors from the country.
"Trust when God speaks to you. I trust my connection with the most high," Marbury tweeted. "The NBA isn't the only place to play."
Marbury connected with fans and supporters on Twitter, where he described being transformed by Jesus' love.
"Only God can judge me! I live here," Marbury tweeted. "Jesus can change anything or anyone. You just have to trust his word!"
The former NBA point guard also received the Great Wall of Friendship award from Beijing Mayor Guo Jin Long.
"Receiving the Great Wall friendship award from the Mayor of Beijing Mr. Guo Jin Long. Jesus is real," Marbury tweeted. "Great Wall Friendship Award is the highest honor of municipal Gov't awarded the foreign experts in Beijing."
After several rocky season with the NBA, Marbury tweeted a message to those who did not believe his talent before witnessing him win a championship in China, including New York media.
"Non-believers know nothing about faith. They rely on their own understanding not knowing there's a higher power that's in control," Marbury tweeted. "With Jesus you can move mountains the size of New York Daily News."