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Former NBA All-Star Stephon Marbury is working on a deal with a Chinese N95 mask supplier to bring 10 million masks to hospital workers and other first responders in New York City, as they work to battle the coronavirus in the hardest-hit city in the U.S.
Marbury told the New York Post on Sunday that the Chinese supplier would be willing to sell the masks “at cost,” which is $2.75 each. According to the newspaper, other retails have been supplying the state masks at $7.50 per mask.
“At the end of the day, I am from Brooklyn,” the Chinese Basketball Association legend told the newspaper. “This is something that is close and dear to my heart as far as being able to help New York.
“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 played in the NBA for 13 seasons among the Minnesota Timberwolves, New Jersey Nets, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, and Boston Celtics. He played in China from 2009 to 2013 before becoming a head coach in the same professional basketball league.
The 43-year-old former point guard’s efforts have been hampered by obstacles, according to the New York Post. Marbury said he reached out to Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams to help coordinate the sale. Marbury and Adams have a rapport, with the city official backing the player’s charities in the city.
Adams told the Post he was initially told by city and state officials New York did not need the masks. However, when the newspaper connected with New York State Department of Health officials, they said they wanted to speak with Marbury about getting the masks. It appeared city officials are still working on coordinating with Adams and Marbury.
Marbury appeared to be in New York City about four days ago, posting a video of himself with a mask around his face.
“This is the new normal in the life,” Marbury wrote. “We have to adjust and adapt quickly in our lives. Wearing a mask is so important during this #coronavirus pandemic if we must be out and about. The quarantine has purpose so we can help the infected and protect the healthy. The virus is the invisible killer. It has no heart or compassion as we’re all exposed. I too have family members exposed to this virus. No one is exempt as we see people of all statue infected by this virus. The only way to move pass this is through it together.”
Throughout New York, there have been at least 59,500 coronavirus cases with at least 960 deaths of Sunday.