Former NBA All-Star Stephon Marbury has agreed to three more years with a Chinese basketball team, whose owners will set up a company to produce and sell his line of athletic apparel and shoes, the team said Thursday.
Marbury played 15 games last season with Shanxi Zhongyu of the Chinese Basketball Association. The point guard was a fan favorite in the rustbelt city of Taiyuan, showing none of the defiant personality that had alienated management, teammates and fans in the U.S.
Marbury, 33, will play two more years and may be asked to become an assistant coach in the third, Shanxi said in an announcement on its website. His salary will be the same as last season, which was never publicly announced, but team owner Wang Xingjiang had said he offered Marbury $100,000 to play half a season in China.
As part of the deal, the ownership of Shanxi Zhongyu will create a company to produce and sell apparel and shoes from the point guard’s “Starbury” brand. The company will also open three Starbury shops, though details have not been decided, the team said.
Marbury has not yet signed the contract but will do so before the new season, the announcement said. He has returned to the U.S. and the rest of the Shanxi team will also travel there for training.
The New York City native was the highest-profile NBA player to join China’s professional basketball league but certainly not the first. The CBA depends heavily on foreign talent to raise the level of competition, though each team is only allowed to have two overseas athletes who play a combined six quarters per game.