As has become an annual tradition, the NBA is rolling out its biggest stars to help celebrate Chinese New Year. The league continues its outreach to its massive Chinese fan base by live broadcasting a record 60 games, featuring all 30 teams, in China over a 17 day period beginning Jan. 26. Notably included in that period: Yao Ming’s jersey retirement in Houston on Feb. 3, at halftime of the Rockets’ game against the Bulls.
Jimmer Fredette is a big, huge star again in China. Jimmer leads the Chinese Basketball Association in scoring with 38.4 points per game and won the league’s 3-point contest during halftime of the All-Star game this weekend. He’s also 11th in the league with 4.7 assists per game and 26th in the league in rebounding with 8.8 a game. He’s shooting 49% from the field and 40% from 3. He’s also signed a deal for his own sneaker with Chinese shoe company 361-degrees. This is exactly how things were supposed to be, just not an entire world away.
Marbury is quite possibly the most popular African-American in the city’s history and likely the country, too. And the Ducks are expected to be the last basketball team he plays for professionally. Now with one more year left on his Beijing contract, he said he didn’t entertain an inquiry from the Houston Rockets after winning his first title in China in 2012. “I basically kept telling them I wasn’t interested, and I really wasn’t,” said Marbury. “That was not where my mind was. They had just talked about erecting a statue for me and the last thing I was thinking about was playing back in the NBA.”
“I remember those days when it wasn’t fun with what I contributed on and off the court. I thought the league was mad about me messing up their money in Minnesota,” Marbury said. Marbury believes his problems in the NBA began when he received his wish and was traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves, ending his star matchup with Kevin Garnett in 2002. Marbury said he wanted to leave primarily because the harsh Minneapolis winters were too cold for him and caused him too many dangerous spinouts on the roads.