Stephon Marbury is saying that he's going to play basketball in Italy when his current contract is up in 2 years. He says "It's like a [David] Beckham thing." He is, of course, referring to the English soccer superstar David Beckham coming to lay in the US, Los Angeles specifically. (sorry, I don't know the team name. Honestly, I wasn't sure if there were still soccer teams in the US. I will admit that I probably wouldn't have heard of Beckham if it weren't for that "Bend it Like Beckham" movie, and I still don't quite know what that phrase means. But I promise I will not turn this into a soccer-bashing post. I'll save that for when I'm a little drunk and feeling rowdy.) I think Stephon's got it a little wrong, though. I mean, Beckham was an icon in England, known by probably the whole country, and throughout the world. Marbury is a good basketball player, he's got some shoes named after him, basketball fans know him well, casual fans have heard of him, but probably don't know what position he plays or for which team he plays. He's most likely not world-famous, at least nowhere near as much as Beckham. (There was never a movie called "Cross-Over Like Marbury.") He would be leaving a sport that is probably 3rd-most popular in the country to play somewhere that it is more popular. The leagues in Italy are already well-established. David Beckham is leaving a continent that lives and breathes soccer to come to a country where relatively few people over the age of 15 care about it. And I don't know if his star power can bring more Americans out to the games. (His wife could, though.) Besides, isn't Beckham past his prime, getting old, and that's why he's no longer playing in England? He couldn't make the grade there, so he thought he'd come to a place where he could school mostly everyone, or am I wrong?
The way I see it, a more fitting comparison would be if Jerry Rice were to go play for NFL Europe (RIP, oh NFL Europe, I hardly knew ye!). An aging superstar at one of the most popular sports in the nation that a lot of people know (my mom knew him, probably because he's one of my favorite players, but still, I would almost guarantee that she hasn't heard of Stephon Marbury), considered the best-ever at his position, if not in his sport altogether. Fading skills, but still the desire to play, even if it means playing in a place where no one really follows the sport. That's more like a [David] Beckham thing.