Brooklyn will be well represented in China this season, that is for sure.
Now three years after Stephon Marbury made the jump from the NBA to China, his cousin and recent free agent point guard Sebastian Telfair will also call the Chinese Basketball Association home this season according to reports from Yahoo! Sports.
Adrian Wojnarowski writes that the 28-year old Telfair who spent last season with the Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors will sign with Tianjin, and a chance to return to the NBA in late February once the CBA season concludes. Telfair averaged 7.4 points and 3.5 assists while splitting time between the Suns and Raptors last season.
If Telfair’s experience is anything like Marbury has achieved in China, “Bassy” could return to the league with a championship and a cultural icon like big cousin “Starbury”.
The news of Telfair heading to China coincides with Marbury signing a three-year extension with the Beijing Ducks that will keep him under contract through 2017. And while Telfair hopes to run the show for Tianjin and show NBA front offices he can be a starting point guard, Marbury is apparently beyond comfortable in planting deep roots in Beijing.
For Marbury, playing in China has been a mental, spiritual and basketball re-birth which truly is an amazing story if you know anything about his eccentric behavior (eating Vaseline for example) in the waning years of his NBA career.
Now 36-years old, Marbury led the Ducks to their first ever CBA title in 2012 and averaged 33.4 points, 6.2 assists and four rebounds a night in the five-game series versus Guangdong and dropped 41 points in a deciding Game Five. A bronze statue of Marbury soon followed. And the legend of Starbury and the love the Chinese hoop fans have for him continues to grow and grow.
No wonder he extended his contract for three years. Telfair may not depart China with a bronze statue being erected in his memory, but the jump overseas has been very good for Marbury.
Why not Telfair?
While it's clear the plan is for Bassy to sign with an NBA — and hopefully a playoff team — once his season in China is finished, Starbury appears more than comfortable calling China home for years to come.