From the Publisher’s Desk is a series of insights, musings and updates from Rathnelly Group Media President and Publisher of Bay Street Bull and GLORY, David King. In the weeks to come, you will find here insights from a business owner (and sports fan) during these trying times, roundups of elevated content that you can consume while in quarantine and updates on all things that are changing at GLORY as we navigate this new world.
In 2020, nobody can blame you for thinking that Stephon Marbury is irrelevant — at least that was until a few days ago.
It looks like Marbury’s legacy may not be as the NBA player who constantly blew it all after all.
Turns out the former NBA star is trying to aid in the novel coronavirus pandemic by getting the Big Apple something it desperately needs: 10 million N95 masks for hospital workers and other first responders on the front lines.
That’s great news, no one can deny that. But to understand why Marbury is a unique character in all this, you need to remember who he is first and foremost.
Who is Marbury?
It’s fairly safe to say that Brooklyn-born Marbury had some ups and downs during his 1996 to 2009 tenure in the league.
After playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves till ‘96, he bounced around a bit: a stint with the New Jersey Nets from 99-2001, Phoenix Suns from 01-04 followed by a lengthier stop with his hometown team, the New York Knicks from 04-09 and his final stop with the Boston Celtics in 2009.
Sure, his battles with AI were legendary and if he’d stayed with Kevin Garnett in Minnesota they may have been one of the best duo’s to ever do it — but that didn’t happen. The kid from Coney Island basically imploded everywhere he went and even though his talent was undeniable, his NBA life was cut short — just like his Starbury sneaker legacy.
See, that’s the thing about returning to the “relevance stratosphere” — everything from your past comes right along with you.
Well, the Starbury sneakers are just a blip in the memory of most. Launched in 2006 during peak Marbury angst, the Starbury sneaker was released full of promise, claiming it would change the shoe game by making high-quality kicks for the masses at low prices. It was a nice notion. Despite it coming out with bold promises to dethrone MJ as the sneaker king, by all accounts the shoe was a total bust. It was briefly discontinued in 2009 yet somehow still lives on today — but that’s a topic for another day.
Once cut loose from the NBA, Marbury would be found live streaming himself in precarious situations before it was the popular thing to do, moving to China to play against mortals and starring in a Chinese musical which, initially was thought to be a joke — think Simple Jack in Tropic Thunder — but it wasn’t. Talk about a diverse portfolio.
But his time living overseas has taken him from being nothing more than an NBA memory to a Chinese basketball legend. It seems China truly loves Stephon Marbury after he made Beijing his permanent home, lighting up the Chinese Basketball Association for nearly a decade and becoming the league’s most decorated player.
Now, he coaches the Beijing Royal Fighters — not to be confused with the Beijing Fly Dragons or Beijing Ducks of the same league — while his NBA story is still completely over and his legacy in China doing just fine, his revival back home may now come at a time when the world needs homegrown heroes the most.
Fast forward to present day: Covid-19, the pandemic effecting us all.
America, and New York, particularly have been devastated by the Coronavirus pandemic. With reports showing that the U.S. death toll from the virus has surpassed China’s official count. Central Park has been turned into a field hospital and the city desperately needs help, equipment and time in this seemingly endless fight.
Enter Stephon Marbury.
Yes. Coney Island’s finest is here to deliver. As it was reported earlier this week, the former point guard is trying to help the city procure 10 million desperately needed hospital masks. According to the NY Post, Marbury has made arrangements with a mask supplier in China that’s willing to sell the masks “at cost”.
The pricing of the masks Marbury is targeting with this order is pegged at $2.75 a pop, which is well below the reported $7.50 that some U.S suppliers had been quoting the city.
“I have family there in Coney Island, a lot of family … who are affected by this, so I know how important it is for people to have masks during this time,” Marbury said in the article.
Here’s hoping the former Knick can come through because if he does, New Yorkers will have a lot more to be grateful for than the highlights he blessed us all with from high school to the pros. The Starbury legacy lives on.