Stephon Marbury, China business mogul

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Thumbnail image for marbury_china.jpgStephon Marbury — captain of industry.

That may be the sentence I least expected to write in this lifetime, but there you have it.

When Marbury re-signed with Shanxi Zhongyu in China for three years this summer, the deal came with a very interesting component — the team’s ownership agreed to create a company to produce Starbury brand products, plus open three retail locations to sell said products. Starbury is know for producing much more affordable shoes than the top of the line models, with prices ranging from $14.99 up to $49.00

The Wall Street Journal thinks the Marbury contract could become a model.

The pending deal, if it goes through, would introduce a new way for Chinese teams to woo top talent from other countries to the Chinese Basketball Association, which caps salaries for foreign players at less than $60,000 a month–far below the many millions high-profile National Basketball Association players make in the U.S. each year…

“Working on a market that is so huge and so phenomenal … could be unbelievable,” Mr. Marbury said. There’s “real movement in China,” he said.

The athletic shoe market in China could reach $6 billion. That is why Kobe Bryant is over there every summer and has a charitable foundation just for China. It is why Kevin Garnett went there a few weeks back. It’s why LeBron James needs a title or two to boost his image there.

But Marbury may have outfoxed them all.