Stephon Marbury shares emotional moment with Beijing fan at Q&A (video)


NEW YORK (AP) — Stephon Marbury had to wipe tears from his eyes.

He had just shared a surprising, emotional hug with NYU freshman Sheng Kang Zhou. The 19-year-old student, who grew up in Beijing, was overcome with emotion while standing a few feet away from the player he watched lead his hometown team to three Chinese league championships.

Marbury was speaking at a question and answer session for incoming NYU students at the school Wednesday, touching on his career with the Beijing Ducks that included the franchise’s first championship in 2012.

“I had no clue. I couldn’t stop crying,” Marbury said of meeting Sheng . “I know how he feels, and he’s sharing the feeling of how happy he is. It goes to show the level of respect and love that comes from winning championships. Being a New Yorker, it’s like if the Knicks won a championship for the first time.”

Sheng, who was holding a scarf emblazoned with the city’s soccer team, Beijing Guoan, didn’t know Marbury would be speaking at an NYU dorm until Tuesday.

“It was like a dream come true meeting him,” Sheng said.

Marbury had a few stellar seasons in China after an NBA career that included stints with five teams, and he’s become an iconic figure in the country. He has a statue and was featured on a postage stamp in Beijing, and then he got a museum and a musical in his honor. He even starred in an autobiographical movie titled “My Other Home” and won Best New Actor for his performance at the Shanghai Film Festival.

“I never in a million years would have thought any of this would have happened,” he said.

Marbury’s playing days will end after this season, but the 40-year-old New York native will stay near the game. He wants to coach the Chinese national team, and Yao Ming has told him he’ll be considered if he learns Chinese. Marbury plans to take classes during the upcoming season. He may also try his hand in the Big3 3-on-3 league.

“Basketball is my life and I definitely will still be involved with it,” Marbury said.

Marbury also has his Starbury athletic shoe and clothing company to keep him busy. He re-launched the Starbury brand in 2016 after it first hit the market in 2006. His shoes are sold for as low as $15.

“We understand the dynamics of what we need for the shoes to be made and get them to our warehouse,” Marbury said. “The way social (media) is and how platforms are set up with Instagram and Facebook. It’s the perfect time for us to be able to sell the products we have. People can buy products so fast with just three or four clicks. It’s amazing for us with impulse buying. The timing couldn’t have been better for us.”

He gave out sneakers to all the NYU students at the event and spoke of how he still wants to make affordable shoes.

“I grew up one of seven kids and my mom couldn’t afford to get us any of the $150 shoes,” he said. “I want to make sure that people can always have affordable shoes to wear.”

He respects what LaVar Ball and his sons are trying to do by building their own brand from scratch, but he thinks they’re off in pricing their sneakers at $500.

“I think that’s where the message is a little mixed up at,” Marbury said. “Where they’re making people make a decision is where the price comes in.”

Utah’s Donovan Mitchell with shot of night to force OT with Spurs


One of the factors to consider in the Rookie of the Year race: clutch plays.

Down three with less than 10 seconds to go Friday night, the Utah Jazz put the ball in the hands of their rookie playmaker Donovan Mitchell — and he made the play, draining a three to force overtime. It’s an impressive play.

In the clutch this season (last five minutes of a game, within five points), Mitchell has averaged 3.2 shots per contest (by far the most of any rookie) and has a true shooting percentage of 51 percent. Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons, the other front-runner in the ROY race, averages less than a shot per game in those clutch situations (0.8) and has a true shooting percentage of 66.7 percent.

Mitchell made the big shot, but the Spurs made plenty too, had 45 points on the night from LaMarcus Aldridge, and got the win.


PBT Extra: Who is coming out of the Eastern Conference?

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The Toronto Raptors will finish with the No. 1 seed and all the best metrics in the East, but they have a history of playoff flameouts. The Boston Celtics’ have been hit hard by injuries. And the Cleveland Cavaliers have LeBron James but also a dreadful defense, this is the most vulnerable a LeBron led team has been since he bolted Cleveland seven years ago.

So what team is coming out of the East?

We get into that in this latest PBT Extra. A poll on Twitter found most of you think the Cavaliers, but personally, I think the Raptors — who have been better defensively all season than the Cavs — may finally have their year.

LaMarcus Aldridge drops career-high 45 points, Spurs beat Jazz in OT

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge had a career-high 45 points, helping San Antonio overcome Donovan Mitchell‘s 35-point performance for Utah in the Spurs’ 124-120 overtime victory over the Jazz on Friday night.

The Spurs won their sixth straight and beat the Jazz for the first time in four meetings this season.

Utah’s 12-game road winning streak came to an end, but only after Mitchell had 14 points in the fourth quarter, including three 3-pointers in the final two minutes to force overtime.

San Antonio remained sixth in the Western Conference with the same record as fifth-place New Orleans, a half-game behind Oklahoma City for fourth. Utah remained eighth in the West.

After free throws by Spurs guards Manu Ginobili and Patty Mills and a dunk by Jazz center Rudy Gobert put San Antonio up 114-111, Mitchell drained his third 3-pointer of the fourth with 3.6 seconds remaining to force overtime.

Mills, who finished with 23 points, had six points in overtime as the Spurs capped an undefeated six-game homestand.

Aldridge averaged 32.2 points and 9.0 rebounds during the winning streak, including two double-doubles.

Aldridge scored 28 points in the first half on 12-for-16 shooting, including a 3-pointer.

Utah missed its first six shots and was 4 for 14 as San Antonio grabbed a 19-8 lead midway through the first quarter. Mitchell settled the Jazz, scoring six points to cut the Spurs lead to 29-21 heading into the second quarter.

Mitchell was 14-for-35 shooting while falling six points shy of his season-high.

Derrick Favors added 22 points for Utah and Ricky Rubio had 20.

Ginobili finished with 18 points for the Spurs.


Stephen Curry leaves game with knee injury


In his first night back from an ankle injury that forced him to miss six games, Stephen Curry limped off the court not to return after in third quarter Friday night after JaVale McGee fell into his knee.

He limped to the bench then eventually to the locker room after the injury.

The severity of the injury is not yet known and should become clear on Saturday after an MRI.

Curry scored 29 points and grabbed seven rebounds before being forced to leave the game, and the Warriors held on to win the game.

Obviously, if Curry is out heading into the playoffs, that changes the dynamic in the West, where the Houston Rockets were already right on the heels of the Warriors.