I find it rather unfortunate that the number one story from the beginning of the CBA’s most exciting season ever has been an injury, and the chain of events that followed. It’s a shame, really, because this young CBA season has been very exciting. Wilson Chandler’s putting up Wilt Chamberlain stat lines. Stephon Marbury is playing like he belongs back in the league. Kenyon Martin’s team has already been on the recieving end of a very surprising ass kicking. There are plenty of intriguing stories developing in China, but JR Smith’s scary-looking (although not serious) knee injury and shenanigans have taken the spotlight. Fortunately, the whole situation has come to an uneventful conclusion. JR will not face any serious consequences for acting like a jerk (have no idea what I’m referring to? Read this), and he has Stephon Marbury to thank. Here’s an excellent piece from Sheridan Hoops detailing how exactly Marbury managed to keep JR from being sent back to the States. I’ll quote part of it right here on the page, but you really should follow the link and read it in its entirety.
BEIJING – Who is the brightest star after the first week of play in the Chinese Basketball Association? Of course it is Wilson Chandler, who had 43 points and 22 rebounds in his first game. But the one who attracted the most attention was J.R. Smith.
You may have known that, because the news and video of Smith’s injury traveled fast. Smith left the court with his teammates’ help. The next day, he went to Beijing alone for physical examination without the permission from the club. Zhao Bing, the team’s general manager, issued a stern warning to Smith on Weibo and got a quick response back from Smith: “My main goal is to get healthy! If you can’t understand that then maybe you should pick another profession!”
The club was exasperated. A document to terminate the contract was in preparation. Although the contract is guaranteed, if Smith broke the rules more than twice, the team has the right to end the contract without any compensation.
Zhao Bing told the press that actually Smith has broken the rules lots of times, and has been warned three times. According to my sources, the club was planning to fire Smith and look for another American player.
At that moment, Smith realized the danger of the situation. He needed help badly, and Stephon Marbury gave him a hand.
Marbury joined the CBA in 2010, and became the most popular player in short time. He loves China and has made many friends here. Smith learned that one of Marbury’s friends is very close to the Zhejiang club, so he asked for help.
Marbury and his Chinese friend said yes to his request. At first, the club was tough and insisted it would terminate Smith. Then, they agreed to give him another chance, but he had to apologize for his behavior and promise to improve.
The article goes on to elaborate on a long conversation that Marbury had with Smith. It was about respect. Here’s to hoping that JR takes heed to the veteran’s words. This experience could end up being the best thing that’s ever happened to JR Smith, both the person and the professional basketball player. There’s a huge lesson to be learned here. If Smith sees the light, then he may finally be able to reach his full potential on an NBA basketball court. Something tells me he’ll only kind of get it at best, but hey, I really do hope this straightens him out a little bit.