Remade in China.
Stephon Marbury was one of the biggest NBA all superstar’s in the early 2000’s. Like his 2001 in the line of fire shootout with Kobe Bryant-following their seasonal, scorching matchup-which turned the fourth quarter of the All Star game in Washington DC to a playoff one. The Coney Island Point Guard product had placement in Fat Joe lyrics and Terror Squad videos. His shirtless, SLAM cover was as ‘Money. Power. Respect’ iconic as Allen Iverson’s ‘Soul On Ice’ best ever classic. And his ‘Showbiz and K.G’ Minnesota Timberwolves one with Kevin Garnett was remade by Kevin Love (K.L.) and Ricky Rubio too (what a dynamic duo both those perfect partnerships could have been more). Then the show-business of Star Marbury had the game of a big, blockbuster trade (before big, blockbuster trades), as the New Jersey Net was switched to the scorching and running Phoenix Suns for some guy named Jason Kidd (and we all know how that turned out). This former Jersey boy came back home as Starbury had the chance to be the king of New York like Carmelo Anthony leading the Knicks from the point. But like rotten Big Apple luck that all mellowed like ‘Melo too and Marbury seemingly made for Manhattan looked to escape from New York like the Statue of Liberty was ‘Cloverfield’ laying in the middle of Fifth Avenue.
It was time the Point God with a New York state of grind switched from the concrete blacktop jungle of New York to a whole new playground. Steph with a shot at redemption took his ball to the Far East. Known for changing the game and breaking down barriers and borders-his discounted sneakers, affordable for all really knew how to kick game with everyone-Starbury’s star turn wasn’t just another NBA flame-out trying to find some burn in another country like still capable stars Steve Francis or Michael Beasley (bring him back Lake Show). He really remade his name there. Possibly having not only a redemptive resurgence, but arguably the better and for sure the more enjoyable part of his career in a closing chapter that saw him soar.
Retiring at 40 in tears and iconic status in China like Chan for all the years he kicked game, Marbury ended his career with 20 points, a step-back dagger three and the win for the Beijing Royal Fighters, otherwise known as the Beijing Fly Dragons that this fighter breathed fire into. As the crowd cheered “Ma Buli MVP,” “Ma Buli, I love you,” and “My Hero,” and even cheerleaders cried as Stephon got his ‘Jerry Maguire’ on telling everyone in attendance that his career in China “completes me.” Getting poetic the biggest Basketball star in China after Yao Ming continued, “At one time I had no place for the blood to go, and you opened up a portal to your hearts for me to flow. You let me live when I was dying; I can’t explain how I feel as I’m crying”.
Beautiful…but you had us at the Tom Cruise sports agent reference.
Now the man who was the same huge part of the best ’96 draft class with the likes of Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Ray Allen, Steve Nash and Samaki Walker people has shown he was in a league of his own as a three time CBA champion and six time All Star. His time further East wasn’t a footnote like his season with the storied, legendary Boston Celtics. For him and the nation, it was everything. And now his next chapter reads from the dry erase of hoops history.
Because now these fighting dragons have named Stephon Marbury their new head coach. Imagine that! This Brooklyn born baller is about to rule the world from the same sidelines he closed out his playing days with his hands together in prayer as every camera taking an immortalized shot of a moment for life bowed before him. Now set to lead the likes of impressive former Laker Thomas Robinson (having his own Hollywood moment over there like Michelle Yeoh), this former Duck is about to be even more mighty.
This crazy, rich culture and a former NBA icon is showing you Basketball is bigger than just one border.
España FIBA Campeon Del Mundo
When Spain won the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa almost a decade ago this writer was in London seeing a friend from Seoul, South Korea. From Oxford Circus to the fountain tops of Piccadilly Circus there looked like a million Spanish people lining the streets that all lived here in the Big Smoke (F### Brexit! Multicultural is beautiful). And despite the honking horns and raised glasses it was the most peaceful, beautiful sports celebration I have ever seen. No hostility, just community. A Spanish man fell to his knees in front of me like he’d just scored and grabbed my hand with both of his in prayer. The most beautiful Spanish woman I’ve ever seen in her nations strip and scarf walked past me whilst trailing her fingertips across my arm and asked me flirtatiously whilst giggling, “who won the World Cup!”
Just an old memory to reminisce as we begin.
No Muleta could ever stop this raging red Spanish bull.
Ever since way before Kobe and Pau went from teammates to rivals every Summer, Spain have been one of the biggest nations in Basketball and certainly the most complete team. And now even without the older Spanish G.O.A.T. Gasol watching at home in his uniform and with Team USA given freedom by the bronze placed France, Spain proved once again that they aren’t only the most consistent and best team in Europe…but the greatest in the whole wide world.
Right now and forever more on the way to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
This FIBA tournament has been something else in its self. And if this writer wasn’t about to start his own road to Japan he would have been able to enjoy it even more. But shout out to editor Edilson Silva’s wrists for keeping us in touch with the tournament on Twitter.
Even without the power of Pau, or many big names in the legendary legacy of the last decade of the Spanish side (no Sergio Rodríguez, Juan Carlos Navarro, Nikola Mirotic, or Serge Ibaka), the Spanish team still ruled like soccer or their basketball brother team Barcelona. As legends like Rudy Fernandez, Ricky Rubio and of course Marc Gasol cut South America’s Argentina down to 20 point blowout, 95-75 size like Luis Scola’s trademark hair (but what a run of play for a member of the team of the tournament).
Marc made his mark as the second player in history to be an NBA Champion and a FIBA World Cup one in the same year, although unfortunately fellow Toronto Raptor Ibaka couldn’t join him. But what a Summer for the first player to do this since the Lakers Lamar Odom almost a decade back in 2010. Only a year after Marc Gasol’s draft rights were traded by the purple and gold for brother Pau.
“The rest of the world have been caught up for quite some time”, like Kobe Bryant said. “The days of the ’92 Barcelona Dream Team are gone”.
Now that’s as true as the U.S. coming in fourth place like half the States had a dance recital.
Congratulations to the real Dream Team…yeah I said it.
Ricky Rubio had 20 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists and no one deserves it more.
Marc Gasol had 14 and 7 in both rebounds and assists.
Sergio Llull had 15.
Rudy Fernandez 11, 10 and 3.
And both Juancho and Willy Hernangomez both had 11 too.
Now what more can you possibly say like reacting to that practice pregame half court heave underarm…from behind the back like a Globetrotter?
Gabriel Deck led the way for Argentina with 24 whilst the likes of old rivals and friends Kobe Bryant and Tony Parker watched from courtside in a sold out arena in Beijing. Whilst Scola scored 8. Argentina were valiant in the final like they were the whole terrific tourney until they were slain by Spain.
Now expect Spain to control the Japanese Olympics in Tokyo next year like a matador.
France Say Au Revoir To United States In FIBA World Cup
From ‘Dream’ to ‘Redeem’, call it what you will but last night in Dongguan, China was a nightmare for Team USA as the United States were sent packing from the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
And it was France who gave Greg Popovich team it’s last kiss last night…and Tony Parker was nowhere in sight, apart from some applause emojis on Twitter in celebration.
A year before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and many teams (including the U.S. and Canada baby!) clinching their berths for the Japan games in this tournament, this tourney was more than just a precursor or appetizer for the main event to come in a calendars time. It was a competitive game of brackets for all or nothing in its own right. Not to mention a showcase of just how talented the world’s game is, their teams and the individual talents of players themselves. If you haven’t been tuning in like the media networks with no coverage you’re really missing out and the point like TP9. From Giannis Antetokounmpo showing just how much he gives his body up for club and country. And the Hustle of Memphis Grizzlies Japanese G-League regular Yuta Watanabe showing that when it comes to the Olympics next year it’s not just a Washington Wizards top pick who will be big for Japan. Call him up!
And then of course there’s former Parker backup and Spurs man Patty Mills clicking and lowing the boom with his ruling Aussies as his New Zealand neighbours do the Haka that could even put The Rock’s ‘Hobbs and Shaw’ fast and furious movie Samoan war dance in a hard place. But when it came to Popovich’s countrymen they just couldn’t pop against France as red white and blue beat the stars and stripes 89-79. Ending a 58 non exhibition game winning streak that Dream Teams have kept awake for longer than the wonderful women’s U.S. soccer team.
If you ignorantly thought that Basketball had no borders outside America (and really? It’s 2019! Who does apart from Trump? Besides this is a Canadian site), then you really won’t now. France made a statement and those (Laker fans) who social media say that the Walker, Tatum, Brown and Smart Celtics couldn’t even beat France and Kyle Kuzma wouldn’t let this happen shouldn’t take this away from the nation who beat them, fair and block to dunk square.
And besides young to veteran superstars with exuberance and (Rio 2016) experience like Donovan Mitchell and Harrison Barnes respectively and respectfully couldn’t get it done either.
The U.S. played well and will be back to their best next year (but need to bring more big guns and names to the Olympic Games), but France just played better. Much better. From the stifling Eiffel Tower of Rudy Gobert with 21 points, 16 rebounds and 3 beautiful looking blocks from the view up there. Beautiful but brutal as Mitchell and Kemba Walker in the clutch can attest.
“We came here to win Gold,” Gobert told press postgame for a team who wants to lift more World Cups than their soccer counterpart. Between four point plays from Nicolas Batum and a team leading 22 from Evan Fournier on a 50 percent 4 for 8 from three from way back in Paris, this side didn’t even need Spurs like Parker or Boris Diaw. Especially when they had MVP and Knick, Frank Ntilikina. All that side needed was heart and they had it in abundance as France looked better than those Jumpman Paris St Germain black hoodies with Jordan in the A.
And anyone who wants to make this more about the U.S. needs to listen to Brooklyn Net and three point contest winner from downtown China Joe Harris, “We certainly didn’t deserve to win that game.”
Let that or Au Revoir be the last word.
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