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It's hard to separate life from basketball: Marbury

Updated: 2012-12-17 23:10
( China Daily)

Living life and playing basketball almost always go hand in hand for me.

My oldest brother Eric used to tell me and anyone who would listen that he often put an actual basketball in my crib when I was just 6 months old.

I don't remember that far back, of course. That was almost 35 years ago.

However, I do remember, at the tender age of 2, my life was forever linked to the game. I had no clue that was the case until years later in my life.

Truth be told, I was the chosen one in my family. My parents and six brothers and sisters believed I would be the Marbury boy who would realize our family's dream of making it to the world's most elite pro basketball league ― the NBA.

Fortunately, God blessed me to become an NBA All-Star, and to be recognized as one of the top point guards to ever lace up and play the game of basketball.

I won't tell you that I was not happy to receive those individual accolades because I was. As I grew older though being called a champion meant more to me!

Basketball is a team sport, and I would have never won a title without my Beijing Ducks teammates.

Me, I always loved life and basketball, and I still really do. I appreciate life and even basketball more today than I did back in the day. Do you know why? It's because I learned to listen more and really learn from my mishaps.

My older sister Marcia always says: "We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak." I hate to admit it, but she's right.

In years past, I usually learned things the hard way for various reasons. I've gotten better with time only because I now make a conscious choice to listen.

And since I began to adapt this mindset off the court, I noticed how my play on the basketball court improved so, so much.

In life, it's not if but when you will be confronted with a problem. The same goes for basketball.

Case in point; how would you proceed if you were faced with a challenge playing in a basketball game where you had the ball with five seconds to play, no timeouts and your team was down by one. Oh, yeah, and this is the last game, Game 7 of the championship!

You better believe those five seconds will feel like a lifetime, especially if your shot comes up short.

Now, do you make excuses? Do you blame others for the loss or do you deal with the challenge by taking one step at a time to move forward and learn how not to repeat the same mistake again?

I believe our tests assist with us telling our testimony. No doubt our experiences shape and mold us into who God wants us to become as people ― whether it is basketball related or real life situations.

That is because basketball poses different obstacles with every game you play. There are no excuses just results.

Each and every move is critical and every possession counts. Believe it or not, one missed rebound, a missed free throw or even a simple miscommunication with your teammate on who's guarding whom can be a major factor in deciding the winner. And the same could be said about situations in real life.

Playing basketball has helped shape my life mainly because of my challenges. I'm no angel, but I really strive now to be a better person, one decision at a time.

I think because of that I finally put all the pieces together last year to capture my first professional basketball championship. I really committed myself to doing all that was necessary to help my team win, and so did my teammates.

In China working hard isn't foreign it's the norm. Great focus seems to be put forth because discipline and commitment are part of the Chinese culture. I respect that.

Yes, basketball and life go hand in hand for me, always have and probably always will.

Love is love.

Always, Starbury

Stephon Marbury can be reached at sports@chinadaily.com.cn

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