On the latest episode of Listen In With KNN on Fox Sports 1340AM, host Kelsey Nicole Nelson welcomed in National Basketball Association (NBA) Champion and part-owner of the New Zealand Breakers of the National Basketball League (NBL) to the show.
Nicknamed “The Matrix,” the versatile forward played in 16 seasons in the NBA with the Phoenix Suns, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers. He appeared in four All-Star games with the Suns and won a championship with the Mavericks in 2011. There were other valuable moments that were special to the Waukegan, Illinois native.
“The camaraderie was special with the players. Being drafted was a great memory when you have your name being announced and go across that stage putting that hat on and feeling that you’re on top of the world,” said Marion.
After his playing career ended, he had aspirations of being a part-owner of a sports team. Marion tried to be a part-owner of the Chicago Cubs and DC United but that didn’t happen. However in 2018 with the help of former basketball player Matt Walsh and a few business partners, he became part-owner of the Sky Sport Breakers.
Marion credits Walsh for doing a great job with the Breakers as he’s taking bits and pieces from their formula and formulas from other successful NBL teams and putting that into the team.
“It’s the hottest ticket in town if the All Blacks rugby team are not playing. It’s truly a joy to watch,” he said. “He moved his whole family down over here and took on that challenge doing it non-stop every day.”
Despite not being a basketball first country, New Zealand has been an eye-opening experience for the former All-Star.
“There are a lot of basketball fans there. When you’re able to experience a different culture, it’s totally unique to me. It’s something I’ve never experienced and I like new challenges,” he said. “Basketball is a global sport and it still has places we can grow in continents that are not playing it right now. With everybody being willing, expanding, getting better, and playing it, it broadens our horizon for us.”
With the Breakers’ success on the court, they want to give that same effort back in their community.
“Basketball is a great platform to get awareness out in so many different areas. It’s a great atmosphere and my guy Matt (Walsh) is hands-on with everything over there. Their culture is really laid back and they aren’t engaged like the fans in the U.S.,” he said.
Marion shared his thoughts about the NBA season restarting in the bubble in Orlando as they adjust due to COVID-19.
“You wanna get paid, you go play basketball. We know how to adjust to certain environments and situations growing up for the majority of the league being African American. It ain’t been an easy climb for us so we all can make adjustments when we need to. They’ll be fine and they’re pros.”