Weijia Column: Marbury saved J.R. Smith

22 Comments

BEIJING – Who is the brightest star after the first week of play in the Chinese Basketball Association? Of course it is Wilson Chandler, who had 43 points and 22 rebounds in his first game. But the one who attracted the most attention was J.R. Smith.

You may have known that, because the news and video of Smith’s injury traveled fast. Smith left the court with his teammates’ help. The next day, he went to Beijing alone for physical examination without the permission from the club. Zhao Bing, the team’s general manager, issued a stern warning to Smith on Weibo and got a quick response back from Smith: “My main goal is to get healthy! If you can’t understand that then maybe you should pick another profession!”

The club was exasperated. A document to terminate the contract was in preparation. Although the contract is guaranteed, if Smith broke the rules more than twice, the team has the right to end the contract without any compensation.

Zhao Bing told the press that actually Smith has broken the rules lots of times, and has been warned three times. According to my sources, the club was planning to fire Smith and look for another American player.

At that moment, Smith realized the danger of the situation. He needed help badly, and Stephon Marbury gave him a hand.

Marbury joined the CBA in 2010, and became the most popular player in short time. He loves China and has made many friends here. Smith learned that one of Marbury’s friends is very close to the Zhejiang club, so he asked for help.

Marbury and his Chinese friend said yes to his request. At first, the club was tough and insisted it would terminate Smith. Then, they agreed to give him another chance, but he had to apologize for his behavior and promise to improve.

The club had another demand: Smith must live with the team. Before the issue, all the other Zhejiang players lived in standard rooms of a common hotel, but Smith persisted that he wanted to stay in a suite of a 5-star hotel. The club met his needs, paying the bill for about 900 dollars per night.

Smith presented his regrets and accepted these requirements. He flew back to Zhejiang to join the team after the examination. He played Tuesday, getting 15 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.

The story has not ended here, and maybe the next part is the main point.

In the talk with Smith lasting for more than an hour, Marbury told him that what kind of league the CBA is, and what he should do to succeed here:

“You have to adapt yourself to the new environment and culture, at least to your team. You cannot expect to continue the lifestyle of the NBA, because it’s not the NBA.”

“You’d better eat and live with the team. In the CBA, it’s impossible for the whole team to stay in a 5-star hotel. This is the reality. If you want to win, to be friends with your teammates, you must respect them, and get their respect in return, although you speak a different language.”

After seeing the happy end of the story, Marbury said: “I’m happy for him. I hope he cherishes the opportunity, because not everyone can get a second chance. Every price is worth it, wish everything goes well for him.”

Many thanks to my colleague Wang Meng, who contributed to this story.

 

Share the Love
Breaking News

Comments

  1. kantankruz says:

    Interesting story, the hotel thing is classic NBA Baby. Good on Starbury for helping though.

  2. This story highlights one of the reasons why I believe the NBA’s minimum age requirement is a necessity. While Marbury did spend one year at Georgia Tech, Smith went straight from HS to the league.

    Both of them were coddled, even worshiped athletes from early in their high school years and as NBA players carried themselves with incredulous levels of entitlement. This is not to say that spending a few years in college would completely remove their sense of entitlement, but for most players, getting NBA scouts out of high school gyms and being poor in college for a couple years should make them more appreciative of the privilige it is to play the game at the highest level and make them less likely to take their God-given talents for granted.

    I’m glad to see that Marbury seems to have been infused with perspective during his time in China and I hope Smith can have a similar experience.

    Of course the biggest reason I’m for the age requirement (I support 20 BTW, rather than 19) is for the reason of skill development. Most NBA caliber players are so athletically and or size dominant in HS that they don’t really have to work hard on their skills to excel. The current AAU system also plays so many games that players have little time to practice and therefore don’t have time to do much work on fundamentals, let alone high level skills. The same is also true for NBA players. With 82 games during the season, NBA teams have little practice time to devote to skill development. Therefore if players actually want to work on their skills, they generally have to take the personal initiative to do so over the summer. For example, LeBron still doesn’t have a low post game after 8 NBA seasons.

    I believe the younger average draft age over the last 16 years is the biggest single reason why there are so few dominant big men in the league today. Big man, low post skills take a lot of time and work to develop and most 6’10″ + players with any level of athletic ability simply don’t need to develop those skills to succeed in HS and they aren’t spending much time in college and don’t have the practice time to do so in the NBA.

    • “…there are so few dominant big men in the league today”

      What on Earth makes you think this? Shoe advertisements? MVP voting?

      ===NBA Title Teams w/Dominating Big Men Since MJ’s Bulls===
      Spurs: Tim MotherF-ing Duncan
      Lakers: Shaq, then Gasol/Bynum
      Miami: Shaq, again.
      Celtics: KG
      Mavs: Dirk, Chandler

      Pistons: Sheed/Wallace (lone arguable exception)

      I’d argue that IF post play is in decline, it’s because it just isn’t as dominant an offensive plan to begin with. Modern zone defense and legal rotations make it MUCH harder to isolate a defender under the basket, which is why guys who HAVE post games tend to start farther from the basket than in the good ol’ days.

      But none of that is stopping big men from dominating the sport of basketball like they have since the game’s invention.

      • lol, your rebuttal to few dominant big men in the game TODAY funny:

        TD- on the decline at the end of his career, and no longer dominant
        Shaq- certainly not dominant for a few years, and um retired
        KG- on the decline at the end of his career, and no longer dominant
        Dirk and Gasol- rather poor examples to rebut the point of USA high school kids needing more development.
        Chandler- very good defender, but hardly dominant
        Bynum- he can be, but we’ve never seen him for long enough periods to know if he can carry the load for anything longer than a high school season.
        Sheed/Wallace- both history as well.

        With using Gasol, Dirk, you don’t seem to have understood the basic point (or you wouldn’t use them in your rebuttal), but you also seem to have missed the TODAY part, else why are you talking about Shaq, Sheed, Wallace, even TD and KG?

  3. Who would’ve ever thought Marbury would one day be a voice of reason and positive influence on younger players!?!? Seems as though his move to China has done him a world of good…

    • Just when I thought Marbury had gotten to that magical place where nothing he does can genuinely surprise me…

    • Good on him if he has finally understood a few things and grown up. Alternatively, it could also mean J.R. is even a bigger loose cannon than Marbury, lol. I know that’s not nice,,,,,, but possibly true.:)

  4. S. Sebastian says:

    Nice reporting.

    I’m glad Marbury finally pulled his big head out of his ass. Great to hear that he is representing himself like a true professional and that he respects the game.

    Many of these NBA players are not prepared for life overseas. They are too immature and unprofessional. They are fools for rejecting the NBA’s offer. It’s as good as it gets and it won’t get any better.

  5. Kind of funny that ESPN.com had the whole “JR Smith is injured” on their front page, meanwhile in China he is playing and helping his team get a win.

    It’s as if many of these media outlets want NBA players to get injured considering how big a deal they make out of it, but once the guy is healthy and playing again they are all silent.

  6. lol, why do these players want to go play overseas. I mean its kind of like them joining the WNBA…. and getting injured playing against horrible competition has to be a waste.

    • “lol, why do these players want to go play overseas AND GET MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. I mean its kind of like them joining the WNBA (FOR MILLIONS OF DOLLARS)…. and getting injured playing FOR MILLIONS OF DOLLARS against horrible competition has to be a waste EXCEPT FOR THE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS.”

      /there, fixed that for you!

  7. Very cool. Interesting story, thanks…

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Hoops has a overwhelming story of how Stephon Marbury reasoned with JR Smith, who was in risk of removing booted off his group in [...]

  2. [...] in the balance, J.R. and Steph had a talk about playing in the CBA and living in China.  From Guan Weijia at Sheridan Hoops: In the talk with Smith lasting for more than an hour, Marbury told him that what kind of league [...]

  3. [...] Zhao Bing, the team’s general manager, issued a stern warning to Smith on Weibo and got a quick re… The club was exasperated. A document to terminate the contract was in preparation. Although the contract is guaranteed, if Smith broke the rules more than twice, the team has the right to end the contract without any compensation. Zhao Bing told the press that actually Smith has broken the rules lots of times, and has been warned three times. According to my sources, the club was planning to fire Smith and look for another American player. SheridanHoops Stephon Marbury, JR Smith, Lockout, China  [...]

  4. [...] bez większych problemów, nie martwiąc się o jego wysoki kontrakt. Jak pisze Guan Weijia na sheridanhoops.com, kontrakt Smitha jest co prawda w pełni gwarantowany, ale zawiera również klauzulę, [...]

  5. [...] 2011 NBA Offseason Rumours & Info Stephon Marbury talked some sense into J.R. Smith TRADING 1.5x IN YOUR FAVOUR FOR ANYTHING OFF MY AI WANT LIST BELOW! Collecting AI, Deron [...]

  6. [...] to?  Read this), and he has Stephon Marbury to thank.  Here’s an excellent piece from Sheridan Hoops detailing how exactly Marbury managed to keep JR from being sent back to the States.  I’ll [...]

  7. [...] told me that Smith’s contract, worth about $3 million, is fully guaranteed. But according to this report by Guan Weijia at Sheridan Hoops, “guaranteed” doesn’t necessarily mean “guaranteed,” because [...]

  8. [...] then in comes the Stephon Marbury to save the day. Yes, Marbury was the voice or reason. Here is the story as told by Sheridanhoops.com. The club was exasperated. A document to terminate the contract was in preparation. Although the [...]

Speak Your Mind

*