Stephon Marbury Working to Get N95 Masks From China to NYC

With ties to both locales, the player-turned-coach is in a unique position

Cote d'lvoire v China: Group A - FIBA World Cup 2019
Former NBA player Stephon Marbury shows up during FIBA World Cup 2019 group match between Cote d'lvoire and China at Cadillac Arena on August 31, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Xinyu Cui/Getty Images
By Tobias Carroll / March 30, 2020 6:01 am

For the last decade, Stephon Marbury has immersed himself in the world of Chinese basketball. He played for a succession of teams from 2010 until his retirement in 2018. And like many an athlete before him, he made the move into coaching — he’s now the head coach of the Beijing Royal Fighters. Marbury is also known for his philanthropic work, which makes a recent piece of news about the star-turned-coach come as anything but a surprise.

ESPN reports that Marbury is seeking to arrange a deal to get 10 million N95 masks to New York City from a Chinese supplier. It’s an understandable move: Marbury grew up in Brooklyn but also has plenty of ties within China due to his high profile there. If anyone was in a position to broker such a deal, it would be him.

Marbury was able to get the supplier to agree to sell the masks for a break-even cost of $2.75 each, according to a report from the New York Post.

With China now beginning to recover from the pandemic, Marbury’s mask contact has more N95s than that country currently needs, according to Brooklyn Borough Hall. The gear would be delivered 2 million at a time over five weeks.

While that may seem fairly cut-and-dried, reports from the Post and ESPN both suggest there have been a few complications — which may be due to miscommunication among various city and state offices. There’s been some of that lately, as you may be aware. The Post‘s report may well have served to connect a few people who needed to be connected. And if Marbury’s efforts to help his hometown do come through, it could be the most significant maneuver of his career.

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