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Former NBA and Chinese Basketball Association All-Star Stephon Marbury is attempting to broker a deal between New York and a supplier in China that would deliver 10 million N95 masks to the state at well below market cost, he told the New York Post's Rich Calder.
The masks would go toward first responders and hospital workers.
Marbury said his supplier is prepared to sell the masks "at cost" for $2.75 each. Vendors in New York are quoting the masks at $7.50 apiece, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office said recently, courtesy of Bloomberg's Bob Ivry and Brandon Kochkodin.
Marbury, a former Knicks guard and a native of the state, said the price gouging and the low supply for medical workers convinced him to take action.
"At the end of the day, I am from Brooklyn," he told Calder. "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."
Despite his efforts, Marbury has endured some difficulties while trying to connect with the appropriate officials in New York. He spoke with Brooklyn Borough president Eric Adams, but Adams initially said officials told him they didn't need the masks.
The New York Post then contacted the state's Department of Health and was told health officials do, in fact, want to speak with Marbury, according to Calder. Some progress is now reportedly being made.
The 43-year-old Marbury is currently a head coach in the Chinese Basketball Association following a memorable playing career in the country, though he spent plenty of time in New York and the surrounding area during a 13-year stint in the NBA.
New York has been one of the hardest-hit states by the COVID-19 outbreak. There have been 672 deaths in New York City alone due to the disease, according to Johns Hopkins University.