Stephon Marbury of the Beijing Ducks holds up an MVP trophy in Beijing on Wednesday. Marbury, who helped the Ducks win the CBA championships title last week, was named MVP by fans who voted at sohu.com. [China Daily]
Stephon Marbury got to be an MVP after all.
The 35-year-old Beijing Ducks guard led the team to its first championship when it polished off the Guangdong Southern Tigers last Friday, but couldn't be named Most Valuable Player because league rules dictate the award can't go to a foreign player.
But CBA fans found a workaround this week, voting overwhelmingly in his favor in two online polls.
The former NBA All-Star was regarded as the team's clear leader.
"Our team can play without me, but Marbury is irreplaceable," coach Min Lulei said.
Marbury topped his first poll on Saturday and his second on Wednesday. The most recent was from official league website sohu.com, which gave him a trophy after he received 16,535 votes from 21,956 participants.
"(The win) was a team effort - everybody contributed," Marbury said. "The rule is the rule. I'm very happy and thankful for all the fans."
Marbury enjoyed a season in Beijing in which he increased his profile tremendously, becoming perhaps the most popular foreign player of all time.
"I think people knew me as a human being before they got to know me as a basketball player and I think it is important for people to know the person behind the one playing the game," Marbury said.
Marbury said he won't leave Beijing, planning instead to build the Ducks into a dynasty by leading them to successive titles.
"I want to build a dynasty here, I couldn't say that before we won, but now I would say it feels good, we have very committed players and they work extremely hard," Marbury said. "I don't have the desire to play in the NBA. I want to retire here in the CBA, and I will stay in Beijing as long as they keep me.
"I do want to be the national team coach here in China, I think it's important to continue to get better in this country, because people here have given me so much."