Remember how, many moons ago, him and Ron Artest were going to take Italy by storm, arm in arm? Looks like Steph is too far gone for even the historic dumping ground for NBA headcases.
Or maybe the world economy has really realigned once and for all -- as of today, Marbury is headed to China to play.
From The Washington Post:
The 32-year-old, a free agent since leaving the Boston Celtics last season, had agreed a deal with the northern club and would arrive in Shanxi next week, the team announced on their official website.Some more fun facts about Shanxi: It's currently 15th out of 17th in the standings; had Bonzi Wells on its roster last season; and will look to Marbury to boost ticket sales in addition to maybe, just maybe, improving its won-lost record. Steph, always smarter than you think, knows that striking off into China to sell his shoes and clothing is a good business move.But even if this move makes sense for the team and the player, it may not be so hot for Chinese basketball write large, or the long-term NBA/China relationship. It wasn't so long ago that we were speculating about David Stern's master plan to put an NBA franchise, or several of them, in China. China offers up more prospective customers than our fair nation, and also has more affection for the Association. If Marbury get that, you know the NBA does.
"The aim of signing Marbury is to pay back our fans and try to win more games in the rest of the season," said Shanxi boss Wang Xingjiang.
Yet if Chinese teams so willingly take on pariahs like Marbury, it's the equivalent of that country's economy resigning itself to low-paid manufacturing. Shanxi probably just had more money to throw around than any European club. Still, Marbury to China reinforces the perception that, basketball-wise, the place is still a joke. Sure, there's Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian. But what if Marbury's the other side of this equation of exchange? That can't be good for the brand, or make Stern particularly enthused about associating his league with a basketball landscape willing to take in the most wretched of NBA outcasts.
Stephon Marbury, you have the power to make or break China's basketball future. I am sure you will wear it well.