Thursday, February 11, 2010

A New Yorker Playing Beijing

Came back home early last night, having missed dinner at our usual CAS cafeteria. These days, the cafeterias have been running out of stuff early --- Chinese New Year's being a mere 3 days away and there are only a few students and faculty/staff left. Was in the midst of editing/rewriting when 7 PM passed just like that.

Anyway, back in the apartment, I put on two pots of water to boil. One for soup (pork ribs and Chinese cabbage) and another for dumplings (frozen, Chinese chives) before I turned on the TV. A quick surf around: CCTV-13 (news), CCTV-5 (sports; the Chinese-Korean football match had just ended), Kaku (cartoons), CCTV Premier Movie Channel (showing 'Justice League')... I set up viewing Episode 49 of 'The Myth' on CCTV-1 for later (22:35-23:15), before ending up on BTV-6.

And there he was, Stephon Marbury, the Coney Island Kid, Starbury, bringing the ball upcourt for the Shanxi Brave Dragons. Marbury, or 马布里 as transliterated in Chinese, came over to play in the CBA a few weeks ago. His Chinese moniker is 独狼, i.e., the Lone Wolf, which I am assuming reflects his stint with the Minnesota Timberwolves and the 'fall-out' with KG. By showing up to play, Steph's automatically the best player not named Yao Ming to appear in a CBA game. (O, where art thou, Bonzi Wells???)

Stephon Marbury. Born and raised in Coney Island, Brooklyn. Abraham Lincoln High. Georgia Tech for one year before entering the NBA as the 4th overall draft pick in 1996. The NBA Draft in 1996 would be remembered as the Allen Iverson - Kobe Bryant draft (A.I. was the first overall pick to the Sixers, and Kobe went 13th to Charlotte but was traded immediately to the Lakers for Vlade Divac). The other notables draft picks that year: Marcus Camby (before he had '勉族' tattooed on his right arm, went number 2 to the Raptors), Ray Allen (number 5 to the T-Wolves but was traded immediately to the Bucks for Marbury), Steve Nash (number 15 to the Suns). (Ahh, Knick fans, remember John Wallace, Syracuse Orangeman? We picked him 18th that year.)

I had heard about Marbury's move to Shanxi a while ago (see NYT article). But it was the first time I've seen him on TV since he was in Celtic green in the '08-'09 playoffs. There he was, stutter-steppin' to the rim, dishing and swishing to 30 points, 15 assists, and 9 rebounds (1 rebound short of a triple double!) against the Beijing Jinyu (金隅) Ducks.

Steph looked good. Didn't look like he's lost a step. Although, of course, last night he was playing against Cedric Bozeman (who?!) and other Ducks. Here are some photos of the game on the CBA official website.

Glad to see that the Steph’s team won the game 116-107 (in fact, it was the 2nd win in a row for Steph and the Brave Dragons). But last night every Chinese sports fan’s attention was on the Chinese-Korean football match in the 2010 East Asian Football Championship. The Chinese won 3-0, breaking a 32 year victory-less streak against the Koreans. So even on the evening of his first home victory for the Brave Dragons, Steph couldn’t win. Just like old times.

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