Ducks’ Marbury adds voice to China sponsor concerns
BEIJING - Agence France-Presse
Stephon Marbury plays for the Beijing Ducks in the Chinese Basketball Association. AFP photo
Ex-NBA star Stephon Marbury blasted the Chinese Basketball Association’s sponsorship rules after he was fined for failing to cover up the logo on his own-brand shoes, state media reported yesterday.
Marbury, who plays for the defending CBA champion Beijing Ducks, said it was “not right” that players were forced to wear footwear made by league sponsor Li Ning, or conceal the logo when wearing another brand.
“Every player has his right to wear what shoes are right for his feet to protect his body and wellbeing while playing on the court,” he told the China Daily.
“It is not right that players can’t have a choice to wear what’s comfortable while playing at a high level. Safety is first and it’s my right.”
Marbury was fined $3,210 for not covering up his shoes -- which were designed by him in China by the 361 Degrees brand through a partnership deal.
While Marbury is permitted to wear his own brand of shoe if the logo is covered as he is an overseas player, the sponsorship deal requires domestic players to wear Li Ning or pay $80,200 to wear other brands.
Many players have complained about overprotection for the sponsors from the CBA, who has a $321 million five-year sponsorship agreement with Li Ning.
Excitement is soaring for this year’s CBA season, which features three former NBA All-Stars for the first time.
Marbury is joined by Tracy McGrady, a former teammate of Chinese basketball superstar Yao Ming, and Gilbert Arenas, who are heading a cohort of 28 ex-NBA players who have made a new start in China.