NBA stars Don't Fade Away, They Just… Well Maybe They Do Fade Away

By Noah Davis 

This week, Philadelphia Magazine and New York checked in with Allen Iverson and Stephon Marbury, respectively.

The stories find each player overseas (in Turkey and China), struggling to adjust, but appreciating the opportunity to play basketball.

“Everybody is making a big deal out of the money and making $2 million – what do people want me to do? Sit at home and just watch basketball, or play at the Y.M.C.A.?” Iverson told Philly‘s Robert Huber. “I had to do what I had to do to continue playing basketball.”

Marbury has bigger plans in China.The former Lincoln High School phenom launched a line of shoes in 2005, and while it failed in the United States, he hopes his high Q rating in China will help him penetrate the market.

Aside from the potentially imminent NBA salary chaos, he’s attracted, like many basketball hustlers, to China’s estimated 300 million basketball fans, hoping to infiltrate its $6 billion dollar athletic-shoe market with his sneaker/apparel line, Starbury. Launched five years ago in a joint venture with retail clothing chain Steve & Barry’s, the Starbury brand was meant to offer affordable apparel for those who couldn’t afford to pay $150 for a pair of Nikes. Since Steve & Barry’s filed for bankruptcy two years ago, Starbury has been dormant. Marbury’s goal is to find an investor to help distribute the line, then open standalone stores across the country.

For now, however, he’ll settle for eating hotel food and leading the Foshan Dralions while Iverson nets 14 points per game with Besiktas Cola Turka.

This isn’t how they picture their careers ending, but at least they seem in control of their destinies.