Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Stephon Marbury at Zhonyu's practice - last video from Shanxi

Just attended the Shanxi Zhongyu practice this afternoon and took the following video on my SLR camera. It was a good that I was using a small camera, because the coach, Wu Qinglong, spotted a guy with a video camera on a tripod and yelled at him to turn it off. "Turn that off or get out," he said. "You can't film practices. You know that. Common sense. Turn that off." "It's off, it's off," the reporter said, reeling.

Wu, I should mention really quick, is one of the most interesting personalities in the Chinese Basketball Association, a former national team guard whose teammates included Wang Zhizhi and Ma Jian, the first Chinese player to play in the NCAA, for Utah (fore-runner to Jeremy Lin, I suppose you can say).

The way he rips into his players reminded me of Bob Knight. "What happened? Two straight? You sleeping out there?" The voice gradually gets louder, and he punctuates his remarks with silence that is utterly devastating. (In the video you'll see Stephon Marbury filling this silence with applause and encouragement -- "He's making you better, he's making you better.") Another similarity between Wu and Knight is the charm Wu seems to have with the media -- the local journalists seem to want his approval, and laugh quickly at his quips.

What you only get a glimpse of in the video is the court presence Marbury has when the ball's not in play. He's like a coach out there, which is exactly what someone said during the game Sunday. At one point, while talking to a Chinese teammate who knew not a lick of English, he looked over to the sideline and asked the translator, "How do you say 'ball'?"


Apparently too hard to say, he proceeded in English, "Most important thing is the ball. Doesnt' matter where you're at. Most important thing is to stop the ball."

A bit later Coach Wu waved the translator over for the Chinese player's benefit.

And finally, I'd like to mention that in a pre-practice stretching circle with everyone on the floor, Marbury, with someone helping him stretch by pushing on his upper back, unleashed a fart that had the guys next to him laughing.

POSTSCRIPT: I say this is the final video because I was nearly kicked out of practice today. Will explain later.

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