Former NBA All-Star Stephon Marbury decided to re-up with a Chinese basketball team for three more years, according to reports. The Shanxi Zhongyu team is located in the industrial city of Taiyuan -- not exactly New York City, where Marbury once played as a Knick. And his current club isn't exactly the perennial power Boston Celtics, for whom Marbury made his final stop in the NBA. It's a second-tier outfit in the Chinese Basketball Association, where Marbury played 15 games last season for $100,000. This season he will make an estimated $200,000 -- the sock budget for your average NBA player.
WalletPop guesses that Marbury isn't staying for the cat ear noodles, a local favorite. So why is China good for Marbury? WalletPop offers its best shot.
Good fit for a shoe mogul: Team management says it will launch a company to manufacture and market the budget-priced sneakers and clothes from his successful Starbury line, the Associated Press reported, and facilitate the opening of three Starbury stores. The goods are already manufactured in China. Imagine the possibilities of low-salaried Chinese labor and advertising teaming up to sell Starbury to their own. WalletPop also wonders about U.S. tax implications for a product made and sold in China. Can the scoreboard read Marbury Gazillions, U.S. 0?
World's biggest fan base: China, the population leader, now has more than 1.3 billion people. Marbury couldn't possibly alienate every one of them, which gives him a chance to market his image outside of his shoe company. The endorsement possibilities are plentiful if Marbury can maintain a decent level of good will (a definite challenge in the latter stages of his pro career here) and performance. At 33, he's no spring chicken for a point guard.
The living is easy: Expatriates can thrive on the cheap because employers usually provide free housing and health care, according to goingglobal.com. If Steph requires the superstar trappings of a personal chef, he can probably get one for less than a few hundred yuan a month (about $29), the website says.
A stable Yuan: As of this writing, the yuan had been holding steady at what economists consider the "psychologically important" exchange rate of 6.77 yuan to the dollar. If Marbury were to make deposits in a Chinese bank, they would probably be as secure as in any subprime-lending, hedge-funding, bailout-receiving outfit stateside.
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