Acquiring a green card can be a difficult process in most any country, but it is pretty damn close to impossible to earn permanent residence status in the People's Republic of China. In the 14 years since the Chinese government changed the policy banning foreign permanent residents, only 5,000 green cards have been issued. I lived in China for six years, in four different provinces, and not once did I ever meet a foreigner with a green card.
Then again, I never met Stephon Marbury:
现在。中国历史上第一个获得绿卡的外籍运动员。 Right now. In Chinese history, the first foreign player to win a green card. #starbury pic.twitter.com/bba87bIv0J— I AM PEACE STAR (@StarburyMarbury) April 18, 2016
He's even writing English with the syntax of a Chinese person! (Old Chinese expat English teacher joke.)
It's difficult to imagine the magnitude of this honor. The government can be chilly toward foreign athletes. The Chinese Basketball Association refused to sign Kobe Bryant during the 2011 lockout, despite his godlike status in China, because their bylaws forbid players from breaking contracts mid-season.
The vice mayor of Beijing, Zhang Jiandong, personally awarded Marbury his green card:
And so I salute you, Stephon Marbury. You are a true 北京爷们儿 (Beijing bro). It's only a matter of time before they let you join The Party!