Stephon Marbury is at War With Chinese Basketball Association Over Sneakers

He may be reigning champion of the Chinese Basketball Association and all-around local hero, but when it comes to league sponsors, Stephon Marbury has to play by the rules just like everyone else.

There’s a major conflict brewing between Steph and the CBA over the kicks he wants to wear on court. The CBA has a reported $321-million, five-year deal with Li-Ning, and in general, the players in the league have a few options:

1. Wear Li-Ning product.

2. Overseas players can wear whatever sneakers they want to, but they must cover up all logos.

3. Domestic players can pay a fee of $80,000 (U.S.) to the league to wear non-sponsor footwear on court with visible logos.

Steph has apparently decided to do his own thing to start the season, wearing his Starbury kicks with nothing covering the logos, a move that immediately earned him a $3,210 (U.S.) fine and ignited the beginnings of a verbal battle.

From AsiaOne.com:

BEIJING – Ex-NBA star Stephon Marbury blasted the Chinese Basketball Association’s sponsorship rules after he was fined for failing to cover up the logo on his own-brand shoes, state media reported Tuesday.

Marbury, who plays for the defending CBA champion Beijing Ducks, said it was “not right” that players were forced to wear footwear made by league sponsor Li Ning, or conceal the logo when wearing another brand.

“Every player has his right to wear what shoes are right for his feet to protect his body and wellbeing while playing on the court,” said Marbury.

“It is not right that players can’t have a choice to wear what’s comfortable while playing at a high level. Safety is first and it’s my right.”

We’ll see where it goes from here, but you have to believe that there’s no way Steph wins this. The CBA is not going to give in just because Marbury is upset, and Steph’s going to get sick of paying those fines sooner rather than later.

Follow Patrick Cassidy on Twitter

Follow Dime Magazine on Twitter

Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook