Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there has been an enormous shortage of N95 surgical face masks all over the United States. New York has been hit incredibly hard by the outbreak, and former New York Knicks star Stephon Marbury couldn’t let himself sit idly by while people are in need.
According to the New York Post, Marbury used his connections in China to arrange a deal for the state of New York: 10 million masks from a supplier in China would be sold to the state at the price of $2.75 each, which is at-cost with no markup. That’s almost $5 cheaper per mask than price-gouging, disaster capitalist vendors have been quoting the state.
Marbury, a Coney Island native who became a legend in the Chinese Basketball Association after his NBA career ended, still lives in Beijing. After he confirmed the price and the number of masks, Marbury called Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams to start the ball rolling.
The ball hasn’t really gone far, though. The Post reported that Adams is having major issues coordinating with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“We’ve been communicating back and forth with the city and state, and for some reason they are saying they don’t need any more masks, but the hospitals are saying they do,” Adams said Thursday.
However, when contacted hours later by The Post, state Department of Health spokeswoman Jill Montag said she “had no idea who the borough president spoke to” and that the state officials “in charge” of buying masks “want to talk to Stephon!”
Montag then asked a reporter for assistance in trying to connect with Marbury. The reporter helped by connecting the Health Department with Adams’ office since it had the direct pipeline to Marbury in China.
Adams is also having trouble connecting with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office. Following the initial contact between Adams and de Blasio’s office, Adams’ office says that there was no response from de Blasio’s office.
Both offices remain “open” to working with Adams and Marbury, so a deal could still be worked out to get the state the masks it needs. Marbury told the Post that he hopes his deal-making can help his home state and home city.
“At the end of the day, I am from Brooklyn,” Marbury said during a call from his Beijing home. “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.”
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