TEXT OF STORY
Bill Radke: This weekend, the aging pro basketball star Stephon Marbury takes the court for his new team.
In China. Yes he has left the NBA for the Shanxi Dragons. What gives? Marbury is marketing a shoe in that vast China market. Marketplace’s Scott Tong reports from Shanghai.
Scott Tong: Stephon Marbury’s already got a nickname in basketball-crazed China: lone wolf. His critics think he’s a team head case. In the NBA last year, Marbury pulled down $20 million-plus. One million is his maximum Chinese salary, under regulations. Chinese locals think Marbury’s really here to hawk his brand of basketball shoes and apparel, Starbury.
Mark Fischer is with the marketing and consulting firm Sports and Entertainment Asia Limited.
Mark Fischer: I think he’ll have a hard time competing with the leaders in the market, like Adidas and Nike. But he could make an impact at the middle to lower tiers of the market. There’s still room for a lot of growth there.
“There” being smaller Chinese cities, like the home of his Shanxi Dragons is in coal country. Even so, Dragons’ games are now sold out, and Marbury’s blog is big in China. Plus, he has a chance to shush his critics back home, and there are many.
One American calls Marbury a shoddily performing export, made in the USA.
In Shanghai I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.