Stephon Marbury – the American despised at home, but loved in China – has signed a new contract with the Beijing Ducks that will keep him in the capital until 2017. The man is so popular here that they built him a statue and he’s even been touted as a future national team coach for China. Below is an extract from this week’s Sports Talk column:
[UPDATE: As Beijing Cream has noticed, T-Mac has added another post on his Weibo account, which reads:
Just want you all to know Yang Yi is lying to the China press about me. Any information from him are false to promote his clients. I love China and will always be faithful to all my fans. Peace!
Yang Yi is the Senior Basketball Editor at Titan Sports and a former NBA commentator for CCTV who became known for dropping Yao Ming’s name at every opportunity. Still doesn’t sound like McGrady will be playing in China any time soon, though…]
Following news that Yi Jianlian will not be going from the CBA to the NBA anytime soon comes news that Tracy McGrady won’t be making the opposite journey either.
After spending the end of last season on the bench for the San Antonio Spurs, T-Mac retired from the NBA, shortly after posting this message on his Sina Weibo account: Continue reading T-Mac rules out CBA return, slams Chinese media [UPDATED]
Stephon Marbury – hated in the US for his antics in the NBA, but loved in China for embracing the country and taking the Beijing Ducks to the CBA title – has previously said he wants to coach the Chinese national team and would be a popular choice if appointed. For now, he has to be content with coaching his kids, in particular his son, Stephon Jr aka Turkey.
Turkey may not sound as if he’s destined to be a great, but he looks pretty good in this video, which was posted by Stephon’s wife Tasha (who you all know, I’m sure, is starring in the current season of Basketball Wives, and Stephon cheated with their chef, but they paid her off and yada yada yada).
Fast forward to the 2024 Olympics when Turkey leads Team USA against Pop’s China…
Yao Ming may not have been the first player from China to play in the NBA – that distinction goes to Wang Zhizhi – but Yao’s arrival in the US was supposed to open the doors and let in a steady stream of talent from the east. Unfortunately those doors have now slammed shut with the news that Yi Jianlian doesn’t plan to have another crack at the NBA and will stay in China.
Since I submitted this week Sports Talk column yesterday evening, I’ve seen a fair amount of talk on the same issue of money ruining sports: the Guardian’s Jonathan Wilson arguing that Bayern’s UEFA Champions League win kills the dreams of many teams, and Tom Byer lamenting Bayern buying up Dortmund’s players, while Barcelona – another club that supposedly prides itself on its youth development – spends countless millions on Neymar, recently named the world’s Most Marketable athlete.
Here in China, Guangzhou’s – or more specific Evergrande’s – millions are fast making the CSL an annual foregone conclusion. Continue reading Money makes the world go round – but is ruining sports
Stephon Marbury is an extremely optimistic fellow. That’s part of what makes him so interesting and his infectious enthusiasm has gained him millions of fans here in China. The way in which he deals with the haters is admirable too: reposting messages of hate and wishing them all the best.
But he’s also full of shit. OK, so maybe that’s a little harsh – he’s often just trying to promote the sport of basketball here – but consider one of the things he said to the China Daily newspaper on Thursday:
A round-up of what’s been happening this week (Beckham stuff at the end!):
The NBA announced eight international preseason games for next season. For Asian fans that means Pacers vs Rockets, Manila, Oct 10; Pacers vs Rockets, Taipei, Oct 13; Lakers vs Warriors, Beijing, Oct 15; and Lakers vs Warrior, Shanghai, Oct 18.
Here’s my Sports Talk column from today:
The rumors have been circulating for months, but now, for the first time, they have been aired in public. Last week, ESPN analyst Jalen Rose mentioned on his podcast that two-time NBA champion Dwyane Wade has promised to play for a year in China after retiring from the NBA.
The big question is when. Wade is 31, so likely won’t be leaving the US anytime soon, but seven-time All-Star Tracy McGrady arrived in China aged 33, so Wade’s year abroad could come sooner rather than later.
It’s important to stress that this is nothing more than rumor at this point – Wade’s agency CAA wouldn’t comment on the matter – but the reason the speculation won’t go away is, according to Chinese basketball blog NiuBBall.com’s Jon Pastuszek, that it simply makes a lot of sense.
Wade signed a massive contract with Chinese sportswear company Li-Ning last year – reportedly a nine-figure sum, including equity – but the headlines back home weren’t so generous, with the deal variously described as “bizarre” and a “terrible career move”. Wade’s promise to play in China, while likely not specified in writing, is thought to be linked to the Li-Ning agreement.
To be sure, there is certainly a lot of risk involved. Li-Ning’s share price has been tanking, and the company recently announced plans to raise funds to boost its flagging fortunes. Chinese brands, by Wade’s own admission, are not cool in the US, and Li-Ning’s focus has reverted to China after a failed attempt to enter the US market.
But for Wade, who would be the biggest name to play in the Chinese Basketball Association, the upside is clear. “If he’s truly serious about being the frontman for the company, playing a season in China would certainly be a huge boost to his brand,” says Pastuszek.
His “Way of Wade” Li-Ning sneakers are now on sale, and he’s also promoted other products in China.
Whether he’s up for the business challenge or attracted by the money, it’s not a given, Pastuszek says, that Wade will turn Li-Ning’s fortunes around and sell lots of shoes. “He does have a track record in that respect with Brand Jordan, but it’s going to be more of a long-term process with Li-Ning,” he said.
The framework is in place for Wade to hit it out of the park, but it’s equally likely that he could crash and burn. It should be interesting either way.
Abridged version in today’s Global Times.
Beckham to take up CSL role
China may have lost out in the recent David Beckham sweepstakes, but that doesn’t mean all is lost. According to the Beijing Youth Daily, Beckham will become an international ambassador for the Chinese Super League, beginning this season.