For whatever reason (it’s really hard, not enough time, no desire to learn it, etc.), professional basketball players don’t speak Mandarin very well.
Stephon Marbury, however, might be changing that reality.
Don’t believe me? Take a peak:
Really — Marbury nailed his lines. In fact, the first time I heard the ad I wasn’t even looking at the video; while it was loading, I minimized this video to look at something else. When it automatically started after the bar filled up, it took me a few seconds to get it back up. Able only to hear it and not see it during that time, I was not only able to pick out Marbuy’s voice from everyone else’s, I was also able to completely understand what he was saying: 大家好，新年快乐！(Happy New Year to everyone!) and 给大家拜年！(I wish everyone a Happy New Year!)
How could I possibly understand Stephon Marbury’s Mandarin? Because dude is pronouncing his tones correctly. In Mandarin, there are four tones and if you neglect to carefully speak them, nobody can understand what you’re saying (see Randolph Morris and Zaid Abbas in the middle of this video and the link at the top of this post as further proof to this point).
Actually, we’re not too surprised by Steph’s improvement — he’s been studying down in southern China for the whole season. And we’re not the only ones who are impressed. Here’s some Chinese people who commented on Steph’s pronunciation:
Damn, not bad.
Marbury’s Chinese is a lot better, he even speaks with a little bit of a dialect.
He’s improved nicely
Who cares if somebody instructed him what to say, he’s already amazed me… Such authentic Mandarin…
He can go on the CCTV Spring Festival Gala