There’s no slowing down for Stephon Marbury in retirement
The former NBA and Chinese Basketball Association player is chairman of a new sports blockchain group
Stephon Marbury has been asked countless times about what he plans to do next after retiring from the Chinese Basketball Association in February. The better question for the two-time NBA All-Star may be, what is he not doing?
“If you think I am going to be in one box or one space doing one thing, no,” Marbury said.
The 41-year-old Marbury has joined China’s Sun Seven Stars Investment Group as chairman of its new sports blockchain group. The three-time CBA champion will direct the planning and operations for the sports blockchain group’s athletic products, content and branding services while also creating platforms for digital assets in sports. Marbury will also have ownership in the venture that will be made available via cryptocurrencies with global distribution. The group recently signed a deal with Fighting Spirit, the world’s largest fighting event media rights agency and distribution company, for the joint founding of a blockchain-based global fighting digital asset platform.
The Brooklyn, New York, native described his new venture as a place for content, distribution, manufacturing and digital currency payment all combined into one system “right in the palm of your hand.” He added that his Starbury basketball brand will be a part of the sports blockchain group as well.
“I was focused on basketball when I was playing basketball,” Marbury said. “But now I’m focused on sports. Sports is the revolutionary wavelength to allow people to connect with each other. Due to social media, the world has shrunk, allowing everyone to connect to each other.
“We need to have a friendly service, and blockchain creates that for companies and humans to interact with each other … to be able to buy things without going through middlemen. It creates an open platform, but a truth platform. It allows you to do what you want to do and create what you want to create. It allows athletes an opportunity to be their own owners.”
Marbury played in the NBA for 12 seasons, averaging 19.3 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game for the Minnesota Timberwolves, New Jersey Nets, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks and Boston Celtics. The 6-foot-2 guard departed to China in 2010 to play professionally in the CBA and eventually lead the Beijing Ducks to their first three championships. The six-time CBA All-Star became a star not only in Beijing but throughout China, as he was awarded with a statue and museum, had a play, movie and stamp made in his honor, and also landed a green card.
Marbury had an emotional goodbye when he ended his professional basketball career with the Beijing Fly Dragons in February. The 2015 CBA Finals Most Valuable Player, however, is at peace with his retirement from basketball.
“I’m outside of basketball now. I see way more now as opposed to when I was playing,” Marbury said. “Man, if I told you my flights that I’ve had so far. It’s been more. Now I can go to meetings. I’m not locked down. And I’m enjoying it.
“I can work out and run as hard or slow as I want now. It doesn’t have to be for a pace. It’s cool. I just do situps and pushups and do what I want and eat what I want. When you play you have to lead a disciplined life where your mind and body is one with that style. I have no desire to play basketball professionally.”
Sun Seven Stars Investment Group was founded in 1999 by Dr. Bruno Wu and his wife, Yang Lan, China’s premier TV hostess and media entrepreneur. According to Sun Seven Stars Investment Group, the company has investments in 10 cities worldwide with over $10 billion (American) in annual sales.
Yang has interviewed Marbury, Bill Clinton, Henry Kissinger, Nicole Kidman, Jackie Chan, Kobe Bryant, Hugh Jackman and Michael Phelps. She introduced Marbury to her husband after the interview. All three became friends and eventually built their business partnership.
“Yang Lan is one of the 100 most powerful women in the world,” Marbury said. “To be in alignment with people of such stature, Wu and Yang, you can learn and grow a lot and learn a lot about business. For what I was trying to do with my brand and affordable products, this gives me an opportunity to work with someone who can see my vision and want to get behind my vision. They are showing me ways to take care of doing what I want to do, and that is take care of other people.”
While the sports blockchain group is Marbury’s main focus, he has several other basketball and non-basketball projects in the works:
• Marbury wants to start a 3-on-3 professional basketball league in China that he hopes NBA players will be attracted to play in during a 10-week season with about eight teams. He is also flirting with the league playing half court, full court or even both.
“It’s going to start when the time is right,” Marbury said.
Meanwhile, he said he is part of a budding 3-on-3 basketball reality television show in China that is expected to be aired through China’s Hunan Television and video hosting service Youku after shooting in July. Marbury said Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin and Taiwanese singer and actor Jay Chou are expected to be involved as well. The Chinese participants will live in a house and be trained before eventually coming to play in the United States, possibly at famed Rucker Park in New York City.
“I have to bring 3-on-3 to China,” Marbury said. “The name of the show is in Chinese, but it translates loosely in English to ‘Dunk Boys.’ ”
• Marbury had previously mentioned coaching in the CBA after retiring. While he is still interested in coaching one day, he would like to attend some basketball clinics and watch NBA practices and training camps to help him become more educated.
“I have to go through the whole process of coaching,” Marbury said. “I might think I know something about coaching, but no I don’t. I am going to learn through seminars. I am going to do everything I need to do so I have all of the basics the way that allows me to feel comfortable.”
• Marbury said he is in the process of buying a waterfront property in Brooklyn with a ferry platform attached to it. He said the building is zoned for 800 apartment units in three apartment buildings.
“I am working on that project right now by myself, but there will be some integrations with a Chinese company,” Marbury said.
• Marbury aims to get his athletic apparel company, Starbury, to become part of American culture again through regular sales.