Stephon Marbury encourages Kobe Bryant to finish career in China

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Before the season, Kobe Bryant said he could see himself finishing his career in China or Italy.

Since, he said he has no plans to play abroad and announced his intention to retire after the season.

If there’s any room to convince Bryant to play after this season for anyone besides Team USA – and I don’t think there realistically is – Stephon Marbury is trying to wedge his way in.

Marbury, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

“They love him here. It is a little bit past love. It would be like the biggest thing ever in basketball here,” Marbury told Yahoo Sports in a recent phone interview. “It would be beyond huge. Beyond big. I would definitely encourage it. …

China has been great to Marbury, professionally and personally. He opens up about his transition from the NBA with Spears in an interesting article.

Kobe playing in China would raise the stature of the Chinese Basketball Association, including Marbury.

But that’s not Kobe’s concern. If he plays in China, it’d be to expand his already-huge marketing profile there. He could put up big numbers, take a victory lap and sell shoes.

Of course, there’s a much easier way to do the latter. Kobe can make promotional appearances without putting more wear and tear on his body.

I’ll be shocked if Kobe takes another approach, but it doesn’t hurt Marbury to try.