Stephon Marbury finds stardom, peace in China

BEIJING -- It's news when he takes the Beijing subway or when a statue is erected in his honor. News because former New York Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury has found stardom and a second chance in China.

Marbury even has a tattoo that says "I love China," a symbol of his commitment to the country where he's now a superstar. Marbury was recruited to play with the still-growing Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) in 2009 after his less-than-graceful departure from the NBA.

"For me it was like being reborn again coming here," said Marbury.

Stephon Marbury shows his tattoo which reads, "I love China." CBS News

Not speaking the language may have helped shut-out the bad press he'd left behind: fights with coaches, sex with an intern, and a temporary ban from playing. We met Marbury in the locker room after his team the Beijing Ducks scored a 42 point victory.

"From when I first came here to now the game has grown," Marbury told me. "It's huge."

The reported $2 million he makes now is far from the $20 million he made in the NBA. But in New York he didn't star in a musical based on his life. Up next, there's a movie.

"A star like Marbury can take the subway in Beijing," Zhong Ling told me. "He feels like our brother."

A statue of Stephon Marbury in Beijing CBS News

Marbury says people ask him about China all the time. His response: "You got to come to China to see for yourself. Me telling you this, you're not going to believe me."

Probably because Stephon Marbury can't quite believe it himself -- witnessing just how much he's been embraced on the other side of the world.