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

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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.”

What is Jamal Crawford looking for in a new home? “Fit”

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It’s a little surprising Jamal Crawford is still available as a free agent. Yes, he is 38, and his skills and his efficiency have slipped in recent years, but the man can still get buckets off the bench and averaged 10.3 points per game last season in Minnesota.

He turned down an $4.5 million player option and is still waiting for a contract. What is he looking for? He talked about it with Percy Allen of the Seattle Times, in a story about the amazing pro-am Crawford runs in Seattle every summer.

The three-time Sixth Man of the Year is an unrestricted free agent, which he said is equally worrisome and exciting…

“Fit is first and foremost when I’m thinking about where I’ll play next,” said Crawford, who wants to play another 2-3 years. “Last year, I may have made the mistake of not thinking fit all the way through.

“You look at my career, when the fit was right, I contributed on the court. … I know people that care for me want me to win (an NBA title), but I don’t know if my career will be defined by that.”

Crawford’s name was rumored with contenders such as Golden State and Houston, but nothing came of any of it. At this point Crawford is not going to be able to be as picky about fit, he may have to look at any offers that come in.

Most teams’ rosters are set, and at this point in the summer most teams are happy with their rosters, or at least have talked themselves into being happy with it. Crawford may be a guy who gets a call a couple weeks into training camp, or a week or two into the season, when a team realizes its bench was not as impressive as it thought. There are teams he could still help, even if those teams don’t realize it yet.

Scout on Rodney Hood: ‘Cleveland can get him for a song and dance at this point’

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Rodney Hood is the best free agent still available.

Hood’s problem is he’s a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer for him. No team was interested enough in his skills — after last season when the Jazz traded him away to Cleveland and he struggled to get off the Cavs’ bench — to come in over the top with an offer the Cavs wouldn’t match, so teams never tied up their money with an offer. He still has no contract in front of him to sign.

Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz, talking to a scout, asked about the Cavaliers (the scout agrees with those of us in the “why didn’t they just start the rebuild now?” camp) and Hood in particular.

“Cleveland can get him for a song and dance at this point. I don’t think anyone else wants him, which is surprising because I really liked him in Utah. Utah just let him fly. I was impressed with how he came back in the Finals as an ‘I’ll show you’ game.

“I always liked him. He’ll be good in Cleveland because Cleveland’s going to be bad, and they’ll need his scoring. Who else are they going to go to? He’ll get quality minutes on that roster. How could he not? I’m not sure how tough he is, though. He can put up big scoring numbers on a bad team.”

It’s incredible how far Hood’s stock fell in one season. Heading into last season he expected to be the go-to scorer of the Utah Jazz (Donovan Mitchell became that guy). By the end of the season he barely got off the bench in Cleveland (and in one case would not get off the bench), although once put into the Finals he showed by Tyronn Lue should have gone to him earlier.

Hood’s options at this point are to play for the $3.4 million qualifying offer and become a free agent next summer, or work out a deal with the Cavaliers for a couple of seasons at a number he likes.

 

Baron Davis vs. Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis in Big3 championship showdown next Friday

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The Big3 finals are set — and there are a lot of names NBA fans will know.

On one side is Cuttino Mobley, Corey Maggette, Glen “Big Baby” Davis, and Chris “The Birdman” Andersen of top-ranked Power. They are coached by former NBA assistant coach and Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman — and they had to sweat out their semi-finals win.

On the other side are DerMarr Johnson, Baron Davis, Drew Gooden, and Andre Emmett of 3’s Company, the three seed, who are coached by Lakers’ legend and NBA/WNBA coach Michael Cooper. Emmett got them to the finals.

Power and 3’s Company will face off to decide the Big3 title next Friday night in Brooklyn (live on Fox at 8 p.m. Eastern). The semi-finals drew a record crowd in Dallas, and the league has seen its ratings climb on its regular live Friday night slot (they drew 1.47 million viewers this past Friday, roughly the same as an NBA regular season game). All of that has to make Ice Cube happy.

It will be an interesting matchup. Power has been the team to beat all season, with a balanced scoring attack led by Maggette, who has the second most points in the league (behind the legendary Ricky Davis, a player beloved by NBA Twitter, with good reason). In the clutch though Power has looked to Big Baby and his power game inside.

However, Emmett — the former Texas Tech standout from when Bobby Knight coached the team, who was a second-round NBA draft pick and has spent most of his career overseas — may well be the MVP of the league. He is capable of taking over the one-game Finals and making the upset a reality.

North Dakota Standing Rock tribe to honor Celtics’ Kyrie Irving

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It’s not something known by a lot of fans, but Celtics’ star Kyrie Irving has Native American roots. His mother (who has passed away), and Irving’s grandparents and on back on her side, were members of the North Dakota Standing Rock tribe, part of the Sioux nation.

Irving has a Standing Rock tribal image tattooed on his neck and even in social media messages about something else he has included #StandingRockSiouxTribe.

The hardest thing to do sometimes is accept the uncontrollable things life throws at you. You try consistently to learn, grow, and prepare everyday to equip your mind, body, and spirit with tools to deal with some of those things, but I feel when those moments arise they all give you a sense of unfulfillment, simply because it puts some of your professional journey and goals on a brief hold. It's simply a test of your perseverance and Will, to be present, even in the wake of what's going on. In this case, finding out I have an infection in my knee is definitely a moment that I now accept and move past without holding on to the all the what ifs, proving the nay-Sayers completely f***ing wrong, and accomplishing the goals I've set out for the team and myself. This season was only a snapshot of what's to come from me. Trust Me. "The journey back to the top of Mt. Everest continues." #StandingRockSiouxTribe Let's go Celtics!! Celtics fans, I look forward to hearing how loud it gets in the TD Garden during the playoffs and experiencing how intense the environment gets. Thank you all!

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Next week, Irving will head to North Dakota to be honored by them and take part in a community event.

Many people know Standing Rock as the tribe that stood up to and protested the Dakota Access Pipeline project, which ran an oil pipeline through their lands. Irving Tweeted support for them at the time.

Good for Irving. More and more NBA players seem to be honoring their heritage, their families. Irving’s takes a little different path than most, but he stands up strong for it.