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On Starbury, China & Dragons

By 04.19.11

Sports create narrative arcs for stories, pre-defined beginnings and ends. Marbury is defying his. The NBA wrote him off. The media said he was crazy and washed-up. But instead of fading away, Marbury is successfully building a second life for himself over in China, averaging 25.2 points, 5.7 and 1.6 steals per game for the Foshan Dralions of the Chinese Basketball Association. Recently, he spoke with GQ’s Wells Tower for a story about the guard’s recent success and warm response by the Chinese.

“Marbury left behind his family in genteel Purchase, New York, tried it out for a season, and found, to his great relief, a population of adoring fans willing to overlook his past. He drew record crowds to Brave Dragons games. At signings in Taiyuan within a month of his arrival, he moved 1,000 pairs of Starbury shoes in a few hours. He’d recently discussed with Shanxi a three-year contract and had not ruled out the possibility of retiring here.”

It’s been unbelievable,” he told me. “The fans there, they showed me so much love. They gave me a second chance.” Here, Marbury raised his sleeve to show me where he’d had the characters of his Chinese name—Ma Bu Li—and a heart beside the word CHINA tattooed on his arm. “Two years ago, no one would get near me,” he continued. “Now I got [a major American bank] wanting to invest $50 million in my company. Man, China has changed everything for me. Everything.”

Read the full article at GQ


TAGSCHINESE BASKETBALL ASSOCIATIONFoshan DralionsHEADLINESSMOKE BREAKSPORTSSTEPHON MARBURY

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