Brooklyn, New York basketball legend, Stephon Marbury recently made headlines when he worked with a company in China to sell 10 million masks to his hometown at cost instead of a profit.
“I thought that it was important to try and help in any way that I was able to,” Marbury told me on the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
“And being that’s where I’m from and knowing that the virus is spreading and how it’s spreading. And that was one of the things that were needed. I thought that would be something good that the city could get.”
A two-time NBA All-Star, Marbury, 43, played 12 NBA seasons in league and averaged 19.3 points and 7.6 assists. The former Lincoln High School and Georgia Teach point guard standout had stops with the Minnesota Timberwolves, New Jersey Nets, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks and Boston Celtics.
Currently coaching the Beijing Royal Fighters of the Chinese Basketball Association, Marbury took his game overseas ot China and has had plenty of success as a three-time CBA Champion, and six-time CBA All-Star. “He’s big over there,” Marreese Speights, a former CBA player and member of the Golden State Warriors’ 2015 NBA Championship team told me.
“This man has his own store, he has his own statue in front of the arena. I guess that’s unheard of for a guy to have something like that. He’s definitely THAT guy over there in all aspects of life, and now he’s coastin’ over there. I know they would like that better. It just shows man, he left the NBA, went over there, made a lot of money playing basketball, had fun, and I try to tell these kids all the time it’s a small percentage of kids that make the NBA. Making the NBA is hard. It’s really hard. That’s why everybody doesn’t make it.”
Marbury has even been vocal about the coronavirus in China and how it has been handled. “They had this experience with SARS,” he tells Scoop B Radio.
“So because they experienced it with SARS, they had a way deeper understanding and how to react and how to respond and then also how to create a solution. We’ve never been in this situation before in America other than 100 years ago with the Spanish Flu. So because we’ve never been in that position before and the other people that lived through that are in their 100’s, and living right now. They were children. So they really didn’t have the understanding to be able to give that insight at that point to help make a transition or create a solution.”
U.S. President Donald Trump has often referred to the coronavirus pandemic as the Chinese virus.
Marbury says that many in China have found that phrasing insulting. “People aren’t happy about that,” he said.
“No one received that well in China.
“I mean, that’s just not something that people here are happy with hearing.”
Marbury says he tipped off NBA Commissioner Adam Silver about the coronavirus days before the NBA suspended play.
“I sent him a long email basically just telling him that it was really serious and that he had to stop the games, I thought because the fans could get infected,” Marbury tells me.
“The players could get infected and it wasn’t good that someone could literally catch this virus and die from it. From, just going to a basketball game. So I mean for me, it was more so just staying in communication and I’m sure that he had his own resources of people that were telling him things. I wanted to make sure that I said something to him because I felt compelled to do so and I had an understanding in what was going on in China.”
The Chinese Basketball Association has set the trend on how sports leagues are handling the pandemic. Will the NBA cancel their season? That’s still under review. “I mean at this point you can’t have basketball unless you create a bubble where everyone goes and stays in one place and no one can go in or out,” says Marbury.
“And I think that would be something that can be done, but I don’t know based on the timeframe and them quarantining all of the people and the staff, and all of the teams, players, and the of people that come with the teams. They would all go to one place. So it’s pretty intense right now and how the virus is spreading, and how no one has gotten in front of it. So since no one has gotten in front of it, you can’t really speak and talk about basketball when lives are being lost.”