Stephon Marbury, the former NBA all-star that was picked up by Chinese club Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association last season, has decided to stick it out in Taiyuan, China.
After averaging 22.9 points, 9.5 assists and 2.6 steals in 15 games last season, the 6-2, 33-year old guard renewed with the team to the tune of a three-year deal; a contract he signed in early August.
(Discuss Stephon Marbury in our Chinese Basketball Forum)
Marbury is certainly enjoying much more success in the East than another NBA star, Bonzi Wells, who didn’t even last a season before heading stateside and never returning.
However, Marbury isn’t just there for basketball, the former New York Knick is more than open about his vision to create a basketball empire in China.
“Working in a market that is so huge and so phenomenal… could be unbelievable.” Marbury told the Wall Street Journal.
And according to the Wall Street Journal Europe, it seems the owner of his team is also seeing dollar signs, teaming with Starbury, Marbury’s brand, “to manufacture, distribute, and promote Starvbury products in China – specifically, shoes ranging from $14.88 to $48.88”
The idea of affordable basketball shoes is a campaign that has worked for the Starbury brand in the past – selling his shoes exclusively at Steve & Barry’s for $14.98 – his shoes sold out and were such a huge hit, that the retailer had to limit the amount that customers could purchase… to ten pairs.
Now Marbury and crew hope to repeat that success. They plan on opening up three stores in the city of Taiyuan – the city where Starbury’s team is based. Already, Marbury has sold more than 30,000 in Starbury shoes, and that was at a authograph-signining event.
Marbury’s overall reputation has taken a beating in the West, but so far it’s been a positive experience in China – where he stays in a luxurious hotel within the Taiyuan, whose main industry is coal-mining.
“The people (in China), they showed me love… They gave me a chance. (Taiyuan) is amazing.”
Marbury has also had some success on the court – being named MVP of the CBA All-Star Game.
“Being able to be someplace where they show nothing but love to you… It’s the best feeling in the world,” Marbury told a New York sports talk show. “You’re going somewhere where people want to be around you, they want to understand you, they take the time to understand you. It’s new. It’s a brand-new start.”
When asked if he missed the NBA: “Of course I miss the NBA, but I love what I’m about to endeavor now,” he said. “Right now my focus is on China…. I’m focusing on continuing to build my legacy as far as building my brand.”