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Tag Archives: Starbury

Monday Morning Jianbing

October 24, 2011

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 Starting your day right with China’s favorite street breakfast and a bunch of links…

  • If you haven’t already noticed, we’ve added a “CBA Teams” tab on the menu bar at the top of the home page. You can now see the logo, the city, the sponsor and the name for each of the 17 teams in the league this year, as well as how many championships each team has won. That means two things: You now know how lopsided the balance of power in this league has been, and two you no excuse not to spell everything right when you write about the CBA this season on your own site. And we figure, given all of the NBA guys who will be playing here this season, there will be an awful lot of China coverage this season. So please — for us — take the extra time to look at the page.
  • Georgetown Hoyas head coach, John Thompson III, on his teams’ highly publicized fight with the Bayi Rockets: “Going through that experience, I do think that has helped expedite the coming-together process of this team because, quite literally, they realized you have to have each other’s back.”
  • This is just really strange.
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Stephon Marbury officially signs with Beijing Shougang

August 26, 2011

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After a one year odyssey, Stephon Marbury is finally coming to the capital.

According to Sina Sports, Beijing Shougang and Marbury have agreed to a one-year deal. An anonymous source talking to NetEase Sports yesterday put the contract at around $1.4 million for the year. However, Beijing general manager Yuan Chao was quoted today as saying the deal worth roughly $100,000 per month (H/T hoopCHINA).

Last season Marbury played for the Foshan Dralions, where he averaged 25.2 points, 5.7 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.6 steals.

The announcement ends a long period of speculation that had linked Beijing and Marbury together. In June, news in China reported that the two sides had an undisclosed agreement for the upcoming season, which Marbury quickly denied.

But it always appeared likely that Beijing and Marbury would get something done as Marbury has long had his eye on the city. Before the start of last season, Marbury flew to Beijing to meet with team management after he was unexpectedly released by Shanxi Zhongyu in November. Though the team was interested in signing a high-profile former NBA player, the Ducks ultimately passed and chose to sign Steve Francis instead, who lasted with the team for less than two weeks.

Beijing should be an ideal fit for Marbury. In contrast to the two cities where he played the last two seasons, Taiyuan and Foshan, Beijing is a modern international city with a large ex-pat population and is thus a desirable spot for any foreign import to play. Furthermore, it is the home of LeTao, the online shoe retailer who is partnered with his Starbury shoe line. A casual line of his shoes have been available online since April.

Highly likely to join Marbury in Beijing is former New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks center, Randolph Morris, who played a full season with the team last season. Though he has not officially re-signed, a deal is expected to be reached soon.

With this season’s rules on foreign players officially set, there will be a lot of activity over the next few weeks as teams look to fill out their import rosters for next season.

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Monday Morning Jianbing

August 1, 2011

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Starting your day right with China’s favorite street breakfast and a bunch of links… even if it’s almost 1pm. If you woke up late, enjoy your first meal of the day. If you’ve been up for a while, enjoy it as a snack. We promise it’s still really good in the afternoon.

  • Alexander Johnson, who played last season in China for Shanxi, has been charged with marijuana possession. Like Rodney White, who also played last year in China before being arrested for (much bigger) marijuana-related charge, Johnson signed on with a Korean team for next year. We don’t know what this means for both of them in terms of their futures in Korea next year, but if this Korean article is any indication (and if my Google translate is somewhat accurate, not a given), it looks like they may have to find other jobs. (H/T to Andrew Lowman over at Asia Basketball Update for passing that along.)
  • Kobe Bryant’s chances of playing in Turkey this season are “zero,” according to a Yahoo! report. That of course leads to China, where Kobe has reportedly exchanged offers with CBA teams about playing on a month-to-month basis. According to the report, he’d be allowed to go back to the Lakers at the end of the lockout, but as we learned yesterday, the Chinese Basketball Association might not be OK with the idea of their league becoming a temporary haven for locked-out NBA players.
  • How does Carmelo Anthony’s Panda-posing match-up against Kevin Durant’s? Hardwood Paroxysm breaks it down. A must read for fans of pandas and basketball. ‘Melo, along with Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade, is on the Jordan Brand Flight Tour, a four-city China tour that promotes the sport and the brand through various appearances and events. SLAMonline has pictures.
  • And speaking of Stephon Marbury… he’s being sued by a bank for $16 million for not paying back a loan his Starbury shoe company took out back in 2006.
  • In response to our report two days ago, Foshan management has publicly denied that they’ve made a $200,000 a month offer to current Memphis Grizzlies center, Hamed Haddadi. They admit, however, that there has been contact between the team and Haddadi’s agent.
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Stephon Marbury, China’s newest entrepreneur and Beijing Guoan fan

April 26, 2011

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NiuBBall is a fan of Steph’s shirt for obvious (if you read Chinese) reasons.
(Picture via Sina.com)

Stephon Marbury is trying to do big things in China, things far bigger than just playing professionally in the Chinese Basketball Association.  Beyond aspirations ranging from becoming the head coach of the Chinese national team one day to formulating a strength program for Chinese youth that starts from birth, Marbury has been aiming to take over the shoe game by selling his low cost Starbury brand sneakers to the Chinese market.

The logic behind the idea is easy to follow.  In a country where only a small percentage of the population can afford Nikes and adidas — shoes which are sometimes marked up as much as 25% from their American prices — way more people can buy 198 kuai shoes (about $30, the price of a pair of Starbury’s) than those who can buy 1349 kuai (more than $200, the current price of LeBron 8s).  And in China, where there are 1.3 billion people, “way more” could potentially mean hundreds of millions of customers.  It’s not too tough to figure out why some people, including Marbury himself, are really excited about the opportunity.

Now, after the better part of a year and a half, Marbury has taken the first step towards being a successful businessman in China, officially opening up his shoes for sale as of last Saturday on Chinese online merchant, letao.com.  (He’s also got them up here, H/T DimeMag.com).  In all, 13 colorways are available for purchase.  According to Marbury’s Sina Weibo (aka Chinese Twitter), the brand’s casual line of shoes are being released before the sneakers, which will be available for purchase closer to the start of the CBA season in the fall.

To promote the launch, Marbury returned to China last week to first catch Games 4 and 5 of the CBA finals in Guangdong before coming to Beijing the last two days to make appearances and do interviews.  And, as pictured above, to watch Beijing Guoan soccer games while wearing goofy police hats.  And to look really happy doing it, too.

Likely to make Beijingers just as happy, Marbury, after taking in Guoan’s 3-0 win over Dalian Shide in Worker’s Stadium, has pronounced his lifelong loyalty to the club, making him, alongside our boy Lei Feng, the only two diehard foreigner fans we know.  Maybe Lei Ge can teach him the basics of SB?

It’s tough for a foreign athlete to do business in China on the scale that Marbury is doing, but as we’re seeing, it looks like he’s up for the challenge.  We won’t know until later whether the execution live up to the idea’s potential, but one thing we do know: Marbury’s real serious about China.  And if he’s able to make some money of all of this, you can bet a whole lot of other athletes are going to start being real serious about China, too.

Follow NiuBBall on Sina Weibo @NiuBBall

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Are Chinese fans bored of Stephon Marbury?

January 5, 2011

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As someone who understands the difficulty of adapting to life China, I’m generally down with Stephon Marbury.  While an entire starting lineup of ex-NBA players have already left — some before even playing a single game — Marbury remains dedicated to playing and developing his business plans in the People’s Republic almost one year since his arrival here, even after almost being shut out of the league (under extremely shady circumstances).

While some guys were content to coast along on their name alone, Marbury has taken his on-court role more seriously and has also maintained meaningful interaction with his Chinese fans. His success last year ultimately brought along other NBA players looking for a check, but hardly any have been able to stick.

To me, that says something about Steph.  He’s doing things — playing here, living here, doing business out here and seemingly liking it all the while — that other big-name NBA players failed miserably at. I may just be a sucker for China, but I think that’s worth something.

Cool as that may be, however, Chinese fans aren’t as enamored.  This report published last week by the Metropolitan Express in Hangzhou after Marbury’s team, Foshan, lost away at Zhejiang Guangsha wonders if notoriously fickle Chinese fans have already become bored with watching Marbury play (via Sina).

Stephon Marbury came, but he’s leaving a little bit early.  In Foshan’s away game last night [December 26th] against [Zhejiang Guangsha], he was subbed off for the final 5 minutes and 45 seconds.  When he went off, the stadium also started to leave early.  With Guangsha up 30, only about half of the people stayed to see the final 115 – 80 score.

“It was the fourth quarter, I played him for six minutes, didn’t I? There was five minutes left, there’s no way we were coming back from 30 down,” said Foshan’s head coach, Jay Humphries. For [Steve] Francis’ first game in Beijing, head coach [Min Lulei] let him get into the game because the crowd was swearing at him; when Marbury left the game early, the Hangzhou crowd was instead very calm.  Because they saw him play 30 minutes,  there was no feeling of dissatisfaction… This was the so-called ‘biggest-name NBA import’s’ second time coming to Hangzhou, and it really wasn’t that great.

Last year, Marbury set the CBA on fire playing for Shanxi Zhongyu, averaging 22.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 9.5 assists in 15 games, delighting fans in his team’s hometown of Taiyuan and selling out every arena his team went to.  And his 30 point, 10 assist MVP performance at at the CBA All-Star game was considered by many as the dopest thing to ever happen to Chinese basketball since… well, ever.

But, this year it’s been a different story.  Playing for newly relocated Foshan this year however after being released by Shanxi just before the start of the season, Steph’s production has dropped off to much more pedestrian levels of 16-5-5.  At the time of the story, Foshan was sitting 15th out of 17 teams, although they have since improved to 11th.

Besides his dip in play, there might also be another reason why Chinese fans are yawning at the prospect of paying to see Starbury play: they all saw him play last year:

Everyone knows right now the CBA only has one former NBA All-Star, but fans in Hangzhou still didn’t buy tickets for Marbury. This game’s attendance compared to last Sunday’s against DongGuan — a typical, run of the mill match — was only slightly larger. When Marbury’s Shanxi team came last year, the entire stadium was packed. Why can’t Marbury attract a crowd?  Guangsha GM, Ye Xiangyu, explained.

“One reason is that everyone saw him once last year. Seeing him was new and exciting; this year not so much, so they’re not going to come again. Second is because of the the whole Francis thing, everyone thinks that all big name NBA stars are all like that.”

As I’ve already argued, Marbury is quite different than a player like Francis, who left a mere two weeks after first showing up out of shape, then flipping the bird at a ref before finally refusing outright to practice. Of course, Ye says this after a former NBA player of his own, Javaris Crittenton, left the team because of his questionable commitment to China.

The article goes on to detail the overall mood at the game and quotes a player who thinks that Marbury’s ability may have slipped since last year:

Other than Guangsha’s die-hard fans, almost everyone came to see Marbury. Every time Marbury came onto the court or made a shot, he elicited a few cheers. Even when he went off for good earlier than expected, the audience responded with applause. But it was obvious that there were few fans who felt really excited about seeing him.

The day before the match, Marbury told the media during practice that he would play hard. In 30 minutes, you can’t say that he didn’t put forth an effort, but his performance wasn’t that far off from just a common CBA import player: 4-14 shooting for only 13 points.

Said Wang Xiaofei, one of the Guangsha players who guarded him during the game, “I learned a lot of things from him this game… When these big name players first came, I was definitely playing a little tight. Now, I’m not nervous. He’s old. I feel I can play with him.”

Should Marbury be worried? It’s never a good thing when some young cat, Chinese or not, is calling you old. China is not unlike any other basketball sneaker market. His ability to sell himself and his brand to Chinese depends on how well he and his team plays, and right now, neither are playing very well. Mixed in with China’s famously fickle fans, and Marbury’s grand ambitions for taking the Chinese shoe market by storm may not be the slam-dunk that everyone thought it’d be just a few months ago.

The article concludes by stating what is obvious to pretty much everyone: NBA players aren’t coming back to China anytime soon.

Trying to transform shaky NBA players into CBA model citizens, Marbury’s success in China is a legend never to be reduplicated again. But looking at his his gradually dropping fame and ability, it’s safe to say that the gold rush to bring NBA players to the CBA will pass.

Said Ye Xiangyu, “When we choose imports next season, there will definitely be a big change. Teams will look for players who can still play, not for players who are famous.”

Follow Jon Pastuszek on Twitter @NiuBBall

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Zhang Aijun: Marbury never signed a contract

November 28, 2010

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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

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