â†µâ‡¥Stephon Marbury emailed me tonight after reports in Greece stating the owners of Olympiacos of Greece have interest in not only signing him, but giving him $15 million. Of course Stephon is intrigued. â†µâ‡¥â†µThat's cool, I guess. I was convinced that Josh Childress' defection meant that international leagues were no longer a haven for screw-ups like Marbury. To be fair, we've always been told that Euro ball is more disciplined and morally pure than the NBA; my point was that these leagues may have reached a point where they could afford to be discerning about what American pros they signed. The novelty factor and contrast in talent was no longer so great. â†µ
â†µâ‡¥"I will listen to what they have to say," Marbury wrote in an email. "I will never close the door that has not been opened." â†µ
â†µBut here we are, with the very same team that signed Childress now pursuing Marbury, the ultimate Association outcast. You couldn't find two more different players, in terms of attitude or ethos; ironically, Olympiacos might be erasing a lot of the legitimacy that nabbing Childress brought not only to their organization, but every country that's not America. The LeBron or Kobe to Europe rumors over the summer may have been inflated. Still, they were indicative of a change in the way players, media, and fans saw the rest of the world. If Marbury gets that $15 million and suits up with Childress, all that progress might be lost. â†µ
â†µOne interesting point of reference: Brandon Jennings, the would-be college freshman who took his game to Italy to get money now. Jennings, a flashy point guard, has had an up-and-down experience, learning another culture and culture of the game. The consensus is, though, that in the long run Jennings will be better off for it. It's probably too late for Marbury to be transformed and return to the NBA, and certainly he's a more fully-formed player (and person) than Jennings. But if Marbury takes playing in Greece seriously and changes just a little, then Europe will again be gaining on the NBA.â†µ
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