Knowing Stephon Marbury, he’ll have plenty to say on all of this when he gets the chance.
But right now, as China and the rest of the basketball world remains shocked that Shanxi Zhongyu and their star import have split ways after it was understood that a three-year deal had been agreed upon during the summer, Marbury
is likely still on his plane home to the States is in Beijing trying to figure out a contract with a new team. His side of the story will have to wait for at least another day.
Shanxi’s general manager on the other hand, Zhang Aijun, lives in Taiyuan and thus is not
on a 12 hour plane in Beijing. So as Marbury was saying goodbye to his supporters at the Taiyuan airport, Zhang was back in his office explaining to the media why the team decided to suddenly release their former star point-guard:
“Marbury never signed a contract,” said Zhang to Xinhua reporter, Ma Lin. “So there was no breach of contract, nor was there any treachery.”
According to the report, Marbury and Shanxi agreed upon a general contract structure and put in a clause that would allow the two sides to cooperate with each other in marketing and branding the two time All-Star’s “Starbury” shoe line.
However, when Marbury returned to the States, he sent back another contract filled with other clauses, including one stipulating that the team must re-sign Maurice Taylor, who played with Marbury on Shanxi last year, for another year. Adding to that, Marbury also requested that the two be put up in a five-star hotel in Taiyuan, as well as an apartment complete with a private chef and maids, all at the team’s expense. The two sides met up again in Las Vegas in October while the team was training, but were unable to come to an agreement.
After Shanxi management returned to China, there was hope from the team that something would eventually be worked out, and they put in the business cooperation clause into the official contract as a sign of good faith. However, when they sent over the new version to Marbury in America, he came out with even more requests: a $30,000 insurance policy for both his wife and child and roundtrip plane tickets for everyone.
Scared that negotiations would break down completely while the two were apart, Shanxi paid for Marbury’s plane ticket and met with him in Taiyuan, along with the team’s main sponsor, Shanxi Fenjiu, and the Shanxi provincial sports bureau. After talking, the four pronged discussions ended with Shanxi deciding to give up their pursuit of Marbury.
He left Taiyuan yesterday.
Zhang praised Marbury’s 15 game stay with the team as “positive influence for the team, the fans and the league” and stated that he was “always our number one choice” for their foreign import spot. But, among the increasing list of demands that Marbury was throwing out, the team also had concerns about his offseason training regiment and conditioning coming into the season.
“We had no idea from the time when the season ended up until training if he had worked out or not. Whether he could play at a high level this season, we just didn’t know.”
“There isn’t one team that could meet these demands… There were some that we could fulfill, but we think that although foreign players can decide salary, they can’t have special or preferential treatment when it comes to deciding about life, practice, games, etc. Athletes, including foreign players, should be treated the same. Marbury’s requests made it hard for us to manage foreign players. That’s number one. Number two, last season, Taylor’s play last year was unsatisfactory, there’s no way we could have used him again for this season.”
“From the beginning of October into early November, our team was training in Las Vegas for nearly half a month. In that time, Marbury came to visit the team just once… When we wanted him to play in an exhibition game against a local team, just to play for 35 minutes, he told me that he had been working out individually before and that he couldn’t play. Even as late as November, we had no idea what is conditioning was.”
There has been rampant fan speculation that Zhang’s decision was premeditated, but Zhang was quick to brush those accusations aside, stating that it would be impossible for the team to have already made up its mind on the matter since they had hired a special consultant to help Marbury through the process of opening three Starbury stores in Taiyuan, as well as offering help and advice over marketing his own brand in China. Zhang also said that the team had offered Marbury a 50% of the brand’s stock.
“Emotionally speaking, splitting with Marbury was really tough, but as the club has to deal with reality, we have no choice but to operate within team rules.”
On his Sina microblog, Marbury had this to say to his fans as he left China: WHATS UP CHINA!! HOW ARE YOU GUYS. THANK YOU FOR THE SUPPORT ALWAYS. I’M SO HAPPY TO SAY THAT THE FANS IN CHINA ARE THE BEST IN THE WORLD. LOYALTY IS THE ONLY THING WE KNOW. HONOR AND RSPECT WILL LIVE FOREVER WITH THE FANS IN CHINA. I LOVE YOU… JIAYOU>>>>>>> COME ON