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Why Kobe Bryant reigns supreme as most popular NBA player in China – even though he retired last year – and Warriors are top team

Stephen Curry may be the vogue player in the United States, but enter China and you are in Mamba territory. For now.

Kobe Bryant’s illustrious 20-year NBA career came to a close last year, but the Los Angeles Lakers legend continues to reign as the greatest of all time in China.

And the stats back it up, according to a 2017 NBA Red Card report by Mailman, a digital sports marketing company in China.

In six of the past 10 years, Bryant has ranked first in shirt sales in China. Eleven million fans tuned in live on tech giant Tencent to witness his emphatic 60-point final game for the Lakers.

He has nearly double the amount of Chinese social media followers as Golden State Warriors’ Curry, and his post-retirement #KB20 hashtag garnered 1 billion reads on Weibo, China’s number one social media platform.

“It’s been amazing,” Kobe told the Post. “I’m very blessed.” [Bryant is mobbed by fans as he walks through a tourist hotspot in Haikou, China, in September. Photo: AFP]

That puts him firmly at the top of the report’s “most popular basketball stars online in China” category with 119 points, ahead of Curry (103), Jeremy Lin (99), Dwayne Wade (86) and Stephon Marbury (76) – all of whom are active players.

“Kobe has the ability to inspire like no one else,” said NBA China chief David Shoemaker.

“The reason we involve superstars like him is because he uses content to inspire people in China – and when he’s there in person, his inspiration is at his fullest.”

Source: http://www.scmp.com/sport/china/article/2112853/why-kobe-bryant-reigns-supreme-most-popular-nba-player-china-even-though

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