Video from play “I Was Marbury” featuring Stephon Marbury from China? We got that.

3 Comments

Well, it’s better than any version of “The Rum Tum Tugger” from any production of CATS anywhere. Ever.

That is Stephon Marbury staring as himself in a production of “I am Marbury” in China, a play about the impact Marbury had on the lives of some young Chinese artists. Remember that Marbury has led the Beijing Ducks to two Chinese Basketball Association titles and is a big star there — they built him a statue in the city. Well, that’s what I think the play’s about. I actually speak zero of the seven Chinese dialects, I assume this is Mandarin (spoken in Beijing) but I have no idea.

Christopher Beam seems to have an idea of what is going on and wrote about it for the New Republic (hat tip to Mr. Broadway Eric Freeman of Ball Don’t Lie).

In the final scene of “I Am Marbury,” the new Chinese musical based on the life of Stephon Marbury, Stephon Marbury delivers a soliloquy about Stephon Marbury. But it’s not just about Stephon Marbury: “I am Marbury,” he intones. “You are Marbury. We are all connected.” After each line, a chorus of Chinese actors repeats the sentence in Mandarin. He goes on: “I am a champion. You are a champion. But it was all yesterday. We will never stop working hard. We will never be satisfied. We will always keep moving on….”

“I Am Marbury,” an allegorical tale of two Beijing street musicians who get selected for an “American Idol”–style singing competition. Allegorical, because their ups and downs mirror the oscillations of Marbury’s own career. When the pair first arrives in Beijing with a guitar case and a dream, they encounter temptations, including a brothel Madame and a sleazy agent. During one of their musical performances—rendered, somewhat confusingly, as acrobatic basketball games—the nameless protagonist gets a phone call saying his father has died, a reference to a similarly tragic experience Marbury had while playing for the Knicks. The band eventually lands in court, a scene meant to evoke Marbury’s testimony in a sexual harassment lawsuit by a former Knicks executive against coach Isaiah Thomas. The protagonist quits the show and slips into an existential funk, only to be pulled out by the disembodied voice of Marbury, who comes to him in a dream just after winning his second championship with the Ducks. “Live in the moment,” Marbury says, his face looming on a screen above the stage. “Be positive. Believe in yourself. Don’t follow others. … Everything comes from lessons from God. Stand up. Rise up. Cheer up!” Inspired by Marbury, the hero reunites with his band and, through teamwork, they win the song contest.

Okay…

Still better than any production of CATS.

Markelle Fultz will miss start of training camp, at least, with broken toe

Orlando Magic v Charlotte Hornets
Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images
0 Comments

The basketball gods continue to turn their backs on Markelle Fultz.

A torn ACL had limited him to 26 games over the past two seasons, but he was healthy and ramping up to a larger role this season with a young and interesting Magic team. Then came the news he fractured his left big toe during a training session. As a result, he will be out for at least the start of training camp, the team announced. From the official announcement:

“He has been placed in a walking boot and his return to play will depend on how he responds to rehabilitation and treatment. Fultz suffered the injury during a preseason workout prior to returning to Orlando and imaging confirmed the fracture.

He will not need surgery, according to the team.

Fultz was set to split point guard duties with Cole Anthony, this injury means RJ Hampton could see more run at the point for now. Fultz should be able to return either during the end of the preseason or early in the season.

Fultz was the No.1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft but never found his footing with the 76ers (in part due to injury). However, since getting out of that spotlight and allowed to develop in Orlando he’s been a solid rotation point guard when healthy. Last season in 18 games he averaged 10.8 points and 5.5 assists a game, and while he’s still not an efficient shooter he can run a team.

How Anthony and, eventually, Fultz will work off the ball as rookie Paolo Banchero gets the opportunity to create more offense will be just one of the interesting things to watch with this Magic team this year. We’ll have to wait a little while to see Fultz.

 

Vintage Kobe: Redeem Team recalls him running over Pau Gasol

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
0 Comments

If the goal of a trailer is to get you to want to see the movie, then well done Netflix. I’m in.

Netflix released a trailer for its upcoming Redeem Team documentary on the 2008 Olympics, featuring some vintage Kobe Bryant. Just as a quick refresher, in 2008 the USA’s toughest opponent would be a deep Spanish team led by peak Pau Gasol but also with Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, José Calderón, Rudy Fernández, Juan Carlos Navarro and more. This was a legitimately dangerous team and one the USA would face first in group play.

Kobe wanted to set a tone — and did by running through his friend Gasol. (Warning: There is NSFW language in the video clip below.)

“‘First play of the game I’m running through Pau Gasol.’ And we was like, ‘What?’ He said, ‘First play of the game, I know what they’re gonna run.’ And he knew Pau was gonna be the last screen and he said ‘I’m running through him,'” Dwayne Wade said

Spoiler alert: The USA thrashed Spain in group stage play. However, come the Gold Medal game it was a lot tougher for the Americans to beat the Spaniards, with Kobe having to have a big fourth quarter and — what often goes unremembered — a master class from Chris Paul in game management to control the tempo and flow.

I’m all in for the documentary, which drops on Oct. 7 on Netflix.

Spurs’ Keldon Johnson to miss start of training camp with shoulder injury

San Antonio Spurs v Denver Nuggets
Morgan Engel/Getty Images
0 Comments

Keldon Johnson is poised to have a monster season on a rebuilding Spurs team.

Except he’s going to miss the start of training camp and the team’s preseason games. And could be out longer.

Johnson suffered a “right shoulder posterior dislocation during Spurs open gym” the team announced Saturday. Posterior dislocations are rare (less than 5% of all dislocations) and are usually from a fall on an extended arm. Recovering from the injury depends on many factors but can extend out for months. However, the Spurs said Johnson is expected to be available for the start of the regular season less than a month from now.

Johnson averaged 17 points and 6.1 rebounds a game last season, and is an elite perimeter shooter off the catch-and-shoot (39.8% from 3 overall), who also can put the ball on the floor and finish at the rim. He was the team’s second-leading scorer last season (to Dejounte Murray, who is now in Atlanta).

The Spurs will be cautious with bringing Johnson back. Even in what could be Gregg Popovich’s last season as coach the Spurs are looking more to be part of the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes than push for a playoff spot. Johnson is a quality player who helps San Antonio win games, which both is why they want him back healthy and why they are not going to rush him.

Cavaliers reportedly extend Dean Wade for three years, $18.5 million

Pregame of Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers
Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
0 Comments

This could be a steal for the Cavaliers — Dean Wade could be the starting three for the Cavaliers by the end of this season and he’s got a genuine upside.

The Cavaliers have extended Wade for three years, $18.5 million, a story where multiple sources were on top of it, including Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Wade’s counting stats aren’t eye-popping — 5.3 points a game and shooting 35.7% from 3 — but he is a quality wing defender who has improved as a floor spacer (sometimes setting picks and popping out). He’s a two-way player who has put in the work and could pass Isaac Okoro on the depth chart this season.

The Cavaliers have four All-Stars who will undoubtedly be starting for them — Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell in the backcourt, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley up front — and the looming question is at the three. Wade has a chance this season to step into that role.

Which makes extending him at a little over $6 million a season a potential steal for the Cavaliers.