Stephon Marbury May Have Saved JR Smith’s Career In China

Yes.  That guy.  

And I think when THAT guy can take credit for saving your ass, you’ve got some soul searching to do.  

Stephon Marbury has been playing in China for a couple of seasons now and he’s learned a few things.  JR Smith has been playing in China for about a month now, and has been accused of faking the severity of his injury in an effort to go home.  In fact, he was on his way to being fired before Marbury’s intervention. has the details.  We’ll start here.

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.

That paragraph kind of sums up the NBA spoiled-player stereotype, doesn’t it?  Players demand to live five-star hotels while playing a game because a regular hotel room just isn’t good enough for them.  Because that’s where they all stay for every game on the road.  Enter Marbury who, after an hour-long call, actually had some good advice.

“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.”

Yes, you live in a world where Stephon Marbury is giving sage advice and helping others maintain a level head.  

I know.  I’m scared too.

It might not be a bad idea for some of these stars to play overseas and get a little dose of reality.  Players really live a life of luxury over here in the U.S.  It’s not like that in any other sports league.  

As for Smith? The question now is will this little episode give him a greater appreciation for what he has in the NBA, or will he have more problems?  Don’t think General Managers aren’t watching. Sure, you might find someplace to play for the end of any season that might occur (and the playoffs), but showing a lack of ability to adapt could be costly in free agency.  At the same time, making a sacrifice for the team in China would go a LONG way to erasing a past reputation of locker room cancer.  

Can Smith see past the short term and realize his actions now could cost him, or earn him, money back in the NBA?  It probably won’t take long to find out.