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An old Shenzhen biker passes in front of dunking Stephon Marbury. (Jock Lauterer photo)
An old Shenzhen biker passes in front of dunking Stephon Marbury. (Jock Lauterer photo)

Jock Lauterer, Senior Lecturer and Director of the Carolina Community Media Project at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has returned to China for a third summer to teach Community Journalism at workshops from Beijing to Chongqing to Guangzhou. His latest book, “Community Journalism: Relentlessly Local,” was released yesterday in Shenzhen, after being revised and translated into Mandarin Chinese.

I’ve been on a quest for three years now – to find in a single frame content that says something about the intersections and contradictions of US/China cultures clashing in a single frame.

Yesterday on a photo hike in Shenzhen, I spotted this bus stop commercial for Red Bull, featuring an African-American basketball player doing his take on the Air Jordan flying dunk.

Not being a big professional basketball geek, I could only remember Prof. Chen/Karen telling me years ago about some former NBA star who had made his home in Beijing.

Turns out, of course, as any NBA fan knows, this is Stephon Marbury, described to me by my 20-year-old Chinese student translator, as “a former NBA badboy,” who, at the hoary age of 37, has made Beijing his home, and who has reinvented himself as a Chinese basketball superstar.

My bonus son Rob, who is the sports info guru in the family fills in the blanks.

According to Rob, who works for CBS Sports in San Diego, Marbury was “a point guard phenom out of NYC at a young age and was really good in high school and college but was a bit disappointing in the NBA.  He put up some good stats but was on a lot of losing teams and gained a reputation for being selfish, which is not good for a point guard.  He clashed with some of his coaches and had some bizarre off the court incidents which is why he eventually didn’t get re-signed by an NBA team a few years ago (along with older age) and ended up playing in China. He’ll be remembered in America as a very talented basketball player who made a few all-star teams but didn’t quite live up to his potential.”

But China saved Marbury.

after leading his team to the second national championship,  my host tells me Marbury is now “the hero of Beijing” — presented a key to the city and honored with a statue outside the basketball arena in Beijing.

Who doesn’t love a good redemption story.

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