Former New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury is trying to arrange a deal that would deliver 10 million N95 masks to New York City, but he has run into issues coordinating a deal between a Chinese company and the coronavirus-struck city.
Marbury told the New York Post that he arranged for a supplier in China to sell the masks for $2.75 each, nearly two-thirds less than their standard price tag.
"At the end of the day, I am from Brooklyn," Marbury told the Post from Beijing, where he coaches the Chinese Basketball Association's Royal Fighters. "This is something that is close and dear to my heart as far as being able to help New York."
Marbury added: "I have family there in Coney Island, a lot of family ... who are affected by this, so I know how important it is for people to have masks during this time."
Marbury reached out to Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams to help coordinate the sale.
But Adams told the Post that he was initially informed by city and state officials that they did not need the masks. When the Post contacted state Department of Health officials, however, they said state officials "want to talk to Stephon." The department was put in touch with Adams' office to continue talks.
Marbury played in the NBA for 13 seasons, including five with the Knicks, before joining the CBA, where he played from 2010 to 2018 before becoming a coach last year.