BEIJING (AP) — Former NBA star Stephon Marbury has denied hitting a fan after a testy playoff loss in a Chinese Basketball Association game.
The 35-year-old Marbury and his Beijing Ducks teammates were trapped in their team van after their 102-100 road loss on Sunday to the Shanxi Brave Dragons, Marbury's original team when he joined the league in 2010. A newspaper photograph showed fans pounding on the windows of the van.
Marbury was quoted Tuesday by the official China Daily as saying he and the fans had been separated by guards. However, he disputed reports he'd hit a fan.
"I didn't do that," Marbury said. "How could I do that over the security guards?"
Marbury scored 25 points in the game that was interrupted for 10 minutes as Shanxi fans threw water bottles onto the court to protest what they deemed to be a bad call.
Shanxi's win tied the best-of-five series at 2-2, with the final game in Beijing on Wednesday. The winner goes to the CBA finals.
Marbury, a New York City native, was the highest-profile NBA player to join China's professional basketball league and has said he enjoys playing there. He scored 52 and 53 points in Beijing's two wins in the series.
Chinese basketball fans are boisterous and frequently throw things on the court. Play can also be violent. In the summer of 2011, players on the visiting Georgetown University team were attacked by players from the professional Beijing Bayi team during an exhibition game. Fans threw water bottles at the Hoyas as they left the court.
Marbury played 13 seasons in the NBA with Minnesota, New Jersey, Phoenix, New York and Boston. He averaged 19.3 points in his career.
"We know that for us to win it all we must trust one another because we are at war now," Marbury wrote in a column carried in the China Daily.