Stephon Marbury – the American despised at home, but loved in China – has signed a new contract with the Beijing Ducks that will keep him in the capital until 2017. The man is so popular here that they built him a statue and he’s even been touted as a future national team coach for China. Below is an extract from this week’s Sports Talk column:
Marbury thanked his fans on his Weibo page after the contract extension was announced.
It may seem risky to give a three-year contract to a 36-year-old, but Marbury may well transition from player to coach during that period.
Improving Chinese basketball is a slow process, but if Marbury can improve the national team the way he has improved the league, he would prove as popular a coach in China as he is a player.
In other basketball news, Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo has left Nike to sign an endorsement deal with Chinese sports company Anta, teaming up again with former teammate Kevin Garnett, and joining the growing stable of NBA players with Chinese shoe companies, such as Peak Sports (13 NBA players, including two-time NBA champion Shane Battier) and Li-Ning (whose star signing, Dwyane Wade, may yet play in the CBA in the future), though it should be noted several players have since switched back to US shoe companies after their deals expired.
Rondo is a pretty decent signing for Anta, though: he has a NBA championship on his resume (2008), he’s been named to the past four NBA All-Star games, and has led the league in assists for the past two years.