Are NBA stars America’s most popular new export?


Stephon Marbury

Stephon Marbury

Stephon Marbury always knew his destiny. Back in the day, as a 19-year-old precocious, big-city point guard he regularly boasted of revolutionizing the game at some point. Fast-forward some 15 years later and his reputation as a much maligned, somewhat misunderstood NBA journeyman, and all his prophesying is beginning to ring true.

No, inking a deal with Shanxi of the northern Chinese League doesn’t make “Starbury” the first former NBA star either cunning or humbled enough to make the trek abroad, all in a last-ditch effort to extend the reach of a declining career arch. But without question, it does make the one-time perennial all-star the biggest and perhaps hungriest talent to ever do so.

And a part of Stephon Marbury always knew it would come to this. You could say he expected and orchestrated it. With as much craft and savvy as he’s ever displayed on the court, becoming one of the NBA’s all-time leading assist men, Marbury is now focused on tapping into an unparalleled Chinese market–at least in terms of numbers–through his line of low cost “Starbury” shoes and apparel.

It’s that game plan, as much as anything else, that now has him in a land where he speaks little or none of the language.

“There are a lot of kids who cannot afford a shoe that costs more than 100 dollars, but their love for basketball is the purest so I thought I could help them,” Marbury told The Associated Press, drawing a parallel to his own childhood, which often left him in similar straits. “I’ll communicate with the fans through my basketball. Giving back, has always been a desire of mine.”

But one man’s desire can be another’s thought-of salvation. Thus for every Stephon Marbury, the primary motivation for others in making such a trajectory becomes a simple matter of dollars and sense.

Josh Childress, Juan Carlos Navarro, Carlos Delfino, Boki Nacbar and Jorge Garbojosa all recently chose to shun the NBA to pursue overseas ventures when the contracts being offered from both factions were comparatively the same. Even current front-running NBA Rookie of Year hotshot Brandon Jennings jumped at playing abroad for a season over selecting his best stateside option.

“The NBA have better be careful,” Nacbar once told Reuters. “Some of these teams are offering a lot of money and the perks (cars, houses, tax breaks) are crazy.”

But can cheddar alone really buy happiness? Stephon Marbury made as much of it as most men could ever dream of here in the States, much of it just a few miles away from the Brooklyn neighborhood that bore him and his game. And this week he left for another country. And, as much as anything else, he did so simply seeking purpose and fulfillment.


About eshaan00
Fan of sports. Like to play football, cricket, badminton etc. I can,t talk nicely like others. But a good listener. Like to have true friend.

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