Marbury signs with pro team in China
BEIJING – Stephon Marbury reached an agreement to play for a professional team in China.
Shanxi announced it was bringing in the former NBA All-Star guard on Monday. In a release, the team said it expected Marbury to play his first game on Jan. 27 against Qingdao.
Wang Xingjiang, head of the Shanxi team, called the signing of Marbury “a reward to our fans” to help a struggling team.
“Marbury’s salary is not an astronomical figure because by coming here he also hopes to open up the Chinese market and sell his shoes,” Wang said, referring to the guard’s line of Starbury basketball shoes and apparel.
Based in the northern city of Taiyuan, 250 miles from the Beijing, Shanxi is 3-10 and in 12th place in a 17-team league.
The 32-year-old Marbury played 13 seasons in the NBA with Minnesota, New Jersey, Phoenix, New York and Boston. He averaged 19.3 points in his career.
He played 23 games with the Celtics last season after a messy split from the Knicks.
In an interview posted on Shanxi’s Web site, Marbury said he wasn’t daunted by the language barrier.
“I’ll communicate with the fans through my basketball,” Marbury said. “I think this will be a unique experience. To go overseas to play ball, to live, for me it’s a challenge.”
Known for his YouTube online video postings and off-kilter sense of humor, Marbury had a turbulent tenure with his hometown Knicks, feuding with coaches Larry Brown and Isiah Thomas before leaving under a buyout last spring.
Having gone more than a year without playing a regular season game, he saw little action at Boston before becoming a free agent last summer.
Marbury joins another NBA alum at Shanxi: Nigerian center Olumide Oyedeji, who played two seasons for the Seattle SuperSonics and another for the Orlando Magic.
The 15-year-old Chinese league has struggled with the loss of its biggest star, Houston Rockets center Yao Ming.