Former NBA star and current CBA superstar Stephon Marbury has taken the next step down the road in his fairytale life in China, becoming the first foreign celebrity to ever receive a Chinese permanent residence permit.
After the news broke earlier this week, Marbury wrote on his Weibo account:
I’m so blessed and thankful to receive my Chinese green card. Being the first foreign basketball player to receive a green card means a lot in making history in China.
Marbury says he applied for permanent residence back in April and he will receive it as a gift on Christmas Day. He can add the green card to his already overflowing wardrobe of honors and accolades he has picked up in the Middle Kingdom.
Over the past four seasons, Marbury has led the Beijing Ducks to three championships. For his spectaclur play on the court, he has become one of China’s most popular athletes. He’s received the title of honorary Beijing citizen, his own series of stamps and even a statue outside the Ducks’ arena.
The green card puts Marbury once again in an elite crowd. Since the system was launched in 2004, only 5,000 foreigners have been granted a permanent residence permit, out of around 600,000 foreigners that live in China, according to Quartz. If someone is not an investor, executive or tech expert, it requires that they have made “outstanding contributions” to China.
Marbury seems to fit that description, and has more contributions planned for the future. Once he retires from playing, he wants to go into coaching in China. He is marketing ultra-cheap Starbury One brand sneakers that sell for just $15, and he even plans to open a museum filled with his own personal memorabilia before the end of the year.
While it’s hard to imagine where Marbury could go from here, he might just be able to get on to the CPPCC if he manages to convince China-favorite Kobe Bryant to finish his career in the CBA.