words_Nick Engvall

Stephon Marbury might have pulled some unbelievable stunts in the last few years, but his biggest stunt might be what helps lure some of the league’s aged and ripened elite athletes around the globe to China in the future.

Stephon Marbury won an All Star MVP playing in China, will Iverson follow?According to the Associated Press, 35-year-old Allen Iverson may be the next NBA star to add his name to the list of players taking their talents overseas to a new, only slightly-tapped fan base. A fan base that is as eager to see NBA superstars playing as we once were here in the States, back when they were young that is.

Marbury became the first (former) star to make the move – unless, of course, you consider Bonzi Wells a star, then I apologize – when he moved to the Chinese Basketball Association earlier this year to play for Shanxi, one of the lowest-ranked teams in the 17-team league. Unlike when he took Youtube and UStream by surprise by devouring Vaseline, singing oh-so angelically and crying like only a grown man can, Marbury made the most of the opportunity to live and play in China. Marbury averaged nearly 23 points per game, 9.5 assists, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.6 assists in 15 games during the 2009-2010 season. In the process, Marbury scored 30 points to lead the North All-Star team to a victory-grabbing MVP honors for the game, and probably grabbing more new fans than he has left here in the U.S.

The difference between Iverson playing overseas and Marbury playing overseas is night and day, though.

Marbury had a handful of good years as an NBA player, sprinkled with highlight reels that will keep his questionable antics balanced with skills from his past. For Allen Iverson, though, he’s easily one of the top players in the last 20 years, possibly of all time. His scoring ability, which includes four NBA scoring titles, is on par with that of the greatest scorers to ever sport the Jerry West silhouetted NBA logo. On top of that, AI has an NBA MVP Award in his collection, 11 All-Star appearances in which also grabbed two All-Star MVP Awards, and despite career low numbers over the last few years, still holds a career average of over 26 points per game.

Is Allen Iverson better off finishing his playing days in China?What Iverson has that most stars in the NBA have right now is an incredibly dedicated fan base. Despite his troubles on and off the court, and walking away from his last two NBA franchises, the Grizzlies and the 76ers for “personal reasons,” Iverson, if given a deal with an NBA team, would likely take the court to thunderous applause no matter where he were to land.

Iverson is a potential NBA Hall of Fame member, and his decision to play out his last days on court, whether it be a three-game ordeal as it was for the Memphis Grizzlies, or a couple more productive years as one of the fan favorites, finishing his career in China could be detrimental to the legacy of the NBA.

Iverson wants to play in the NBA. Maybe I’m being to sentimental thinking about Iverson crossing up Michael Jordan back in the late ’90s, but I think most fans would still rather see Iverson suit up for a year or two more, possibly get a chance at the NBA Championship that has eluded him over his 14-year career.

Then again, heading to China and becoming the first former NBA Superstar to win a title in a basketball market that will eventually belittle the United States’ market isn’t a bad way to go out either.

Should he stay or should he go? I don’t know.

My money is on Iverson doing what he always does . . . whatever he wants to.

images via yahoo