Former NBA star Stephon Marbuy is something of a sensation in China. As told by the New York Times in December, he has led the Beijing Ducks to three Chinese Basketball Association championships. There’s a Stephon Marbury statue and a Stephon Marbury musical and a Stephon Marbury postage stamp.

There is a Stephon Marbury museum.

Suffice it to say, the people of China like Marbury so much that they decided to give him the equivalent of a green card, bestowing permanent-resident status.

It’s kind of a big deal, apparently. According to the Times, only about 5,000 foreigners out of the 600,000 or so living in China have been given a green card. None of them were professional basketball players.

With the green card, the 39-year-old Marbury no longer will have to apply for a visa in order to stay in China, the Times reported.

After turning down a one-year contract with the Boston Celtics for the veterans’ minimum in 2009, Marbury signed with the Shanxi Brave Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association in January 2010 and has never left, playing for three Chinese professional teams.