Originally launched in 2006 in the US, Stephon Marbury's Starbury shoes were meant to be price-conscious alternatives for kids from less fortunate backgrounds (they retailed for $15 originally). It was a noble concept: the superstar millionaire who came from the poor streets of Brooklyn, looking to provide kids from similar background affordable kicks.
While Starbury in the US never really took off, Marbury's status as a sports hero in China could provide a sustainable new market for a relaunched Starburys line. It took him a bit longer than expected, but Marbury has apparently succeeded in convincing Chinese backers to fund his line of budget sneakers. Last week, Marbury gave the internet world a preview of his upcoming Starbury relaunch. The collection features hightops and lowtops, in all colors.
It's worth noting that Marbury chose China over teams in Europe (and perhaps even an NBA team, considering that he wasn't that bad of a second string guard for the Celtics as recently as the 2009 playoffs) mostly for the country's business opportunities.
I interviewed Marbury in Foshan, China two years ago, and he told me he was going to stay in China for the long haul and relaunch his Starbury shoe line soon. He said he and his kids are even taking Mandarin lessons.
The self-proclaimed "Coney Island's Finest" has already begun his marketing campaign. He visited the Philippines--a country where basketball is the number one spot by a large margin--last June to promote his Starbury brand.
He's also begun the promotion on Twitter.
By the way, some of you who are familiar with China might be wondering how Marbury is tweeting (the social media service is blocked by "The Great Firewall"). Well, when I met him two years ago, Marbury had his cousin crack the firewall.