Why Stephon Marbury Is The Most Popular Basketball Brand in China
There are plenty of basketball players, celebrities, sneaker designers, and actors in this world, but few people can claim to have done all of these things in one lifetime. One basketball player has, and that’s not all – he also eats Vaseline, has had a bronze statue erected for him, and has the world’s most populous nation as his primary fan base. This is the story of Stephon Marbury.
Marbury came onto the hoops scene when he just a freshman at famed Coney Island basketball factory Abraham Lincoln High School when he was documented by Darcy Frey in the one of the best basketball books ever, The Last Shot.
Marbury went on to star at Georgia Tech and was the 4th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft. He paired with Kevin Garnett to form one of the most tenacious and promising young duos in the league.
But after leading the Timberwolves to the Playoffs in back to back years, Marbury demanded a trade and the duo was broken up.
Marbury would go on to play for the Nets, Suns, Knicks, and Celtics while making two All-Star teams. But it’s what Marbury would start to do off the court that turned him into the global celebrity he is. He started the clothing and shoe line “Starbury” at discount retailer Steve and Barry’s where you could buy a pair of Starbury shoes for just $14.98!
As his NBA career was winding down, Marbury decided to bring his crossover across the Pacific. He has played five years in China, including three in Beijing where he’s won two CBA Championships.
But his on the court action has only been a small part of his success with the world’s most populous nation. He has become a true cultural icon. Need proof?
How many ballplayers have had statues built for them in foreign countries?
And how many have starred in a musical that was about his own life?
Starbury has clearly mastered the role of cultural icon, all while sporting a head tattoo of his own logo.
How will this legendary tale end? That will probably be the topic of another book….