Stephon Marbury has been playing in China for a little more than a year now, and all we’ve heard is that the Chinese fans love him, he’s got huge plans for his shoe business and he won last year’s All-Star MVP. Other than that not much, which is probably what you’d expect because the ESPNs of the world aren’t exactly clamoring to report on the Chinese Basketball Association. Can’t imagine why not.
All that changes today, however, as GQ has just published a long, excellent profile of Marbury in China, penned by Wells Tower. The piece details the struggles that Marbury has dealt with in his second season — being released two weeks before the start of the year by his team, only to catch on at the last minute with another squad — and how that has affected his planned empire overseas.
Of course, through it all Marbury’s persisted that everything happens for a reason, that things will work out for the best and that he’s where he’s supposed to be. To wit:
In Marbury’s opinion, the shake-up in Taiyuan could not have worked out better. Shortly after I’d returned from my trip, he called from Foshan. His enthusiasm was so forceful, I had to turn down the volume on my phone. “Man, you wouldn’t believe it!” he said. “It’s like Florida here! Grass! Sun! Blue sky. Did you see what they said about me? How I got exiled out of China? How I lost a second home? Man, they were just waiting for it. But it shall be well. I’m here, and I’m happy. I’ve landed. Both feet.”
He seems seriously, seriously happy in China, which is really great for a guy who went through a lot of stuff — most of it his own doing — at the end of his career. In fact, reading the article, you get the sense that he fits in perfectly over there. Guys like Steve Francis and Allen Iverson washed out immediately, but Marbury’s been able to thrive. Pretty awesome, really.
Plus, as you can imagine, Tower’s piece is chock full of Marbury lunacy. For example, his matter of fact explanation of why he ate Vaseline that one time.
“I had a sore throat. My friend’s grandmother said to take Vaseline. I did, and it went away.”
But really, you should take some time to read this. It’s a nice little glimpse in to what it takes for a one-time star to rebuild their career in a way they never thought they’d had to. Besides, where else are you going to read about the city that Marbury wants to build with all of his friends and family from Coney Island?