HoopsHype’s Raul Barrigon recently talked with one of every hoopshead’s favorite point-guard, God Shamgod, who says will be playing with Stephon Marbury next year for Shanxi Zhongyu. This is Shamm’s fifth year in China, so he is something of an elder statesman on the league. Definitely worth the read.
Among the highlights of the interview is Shamm’s issue with the CBA’s rule on how much foreigners can play per game. At present, the league only allows one foreigner on the court during games, and limits every team’s foreign two-man combo to five-quarters of combined playing time. The rule is put in place in order for teams to connect to its fans better (the logic being Chinese fans like watching their Chinese players) and to increase on-court opportunities for Chinese players, thus fostering development for the national team.
Much has been made of Allen Iverson’s rejection of a reported $4 million from Foshan. From the stuff I’ve read, both here in China and back in the States, it’s apparent that A.I.’s camp is putting out the notion that their side and China are far apart on money. Yet, at $4 million, which is likely the most money he’s going to see this year, I wonder if salary is the only variable.
A.I.’s problems in Detroit and Memphis revolved around one thing: playing time. Specifically, he wanted more of it. His stubbornness on the issue, despite his advancing age and declining skills, poisoned his reputation in the NBA and put him in his current situation — looking for a job abroad with no NBA team in sight to fall back on. If he’s not willing to play 25 minutes a night for an NBA contender off the bench, you think he’d be willing to play three quarters a game in China?
Maybe there really is an issue with the money, or maybe he’s having second thoughts about moving to the Far East. I’d put it down as a lock, however, that for a guy who essentially ruined his career over demanding starters’ minutes in the face of old age and fraying abilities, the CBA’s limitation on foreign playing time is definitely weighing on Allen Iverson’s mind.
*For further reading on God Shamgod in China, read Alan Paul’s epic part travelogue, part history, all basketball piece written for SLAM, which followed the former Friar when he played for Shanxi in 2006. That’s not an option, that’s a requirement. Go read it. Now.