Kobe Bryant is a star in the United States, where he was born and succeeded in the NBA. He is a star in Europe, where spent much of his childhood.
He is a star in the Middle East, where his endorsement by Turkish Airlines increased his reach.
And Bryant is an über-mega-superstar in China, where basketball is growing and Bryant is the face of the sport.
Bryant is three weeks short of his 37th birthday and has only played 41 games over the past two seasons after tearing his Achilles tendon in the 2013 NBA Playoffs. China does not appear to have gotten the memo.
Bryant made the trip across the Pacific as part of Nike's Asian Summer Tour and to promote his new Kobe Inc. brand. The Brand is working with the Alibaba Group and will include a social media site in China.
Here is the Alibaba Group press release:
Alibaba Group Holding Limited today announced an agreement with Kobe Inc., a newly formed company by the renowned basketball superstar Kobe Bryant. The Alibaba Group will release Kobe's recent video narrative, Kobe Bryant's Muse, exclusively through Tmall Magic Box on August 8, 2015. In addition, Alibaba Pictures, an affiliate of Alibaba Group, will work with Kobe Inc. to create a series of Kobe branded products and distribute them through Alibaba Group's popular retail platforms including Taobao Marketplace and Tmall.com, which are accessed by over 350 million active buyers throughout China.
To promote Kobe's personal narrative, Alibaba Group and Sina will collaborate with Kobe Inc. to create a brand new social media platform, bringing new avenues of connecting China's young people directly to Kobe and his philosophies.
"I believe there is power in understanding the journey of others to help create your own,” said Bryant. “This narrative is an intimate look at who I am as a person, not what I am. My dream is that others are inspired by my personal story and create epic life stories of their own."
Bryant is also taking the court in his interactions with the locals. Nike is documenting much of his trip:
— Nike Basketball (@nikebasketball) August 2, 2015
— NBA (@NBA) August 3, 2015
Wait, let's zoom in on that top right picture of Bryant again of Bryant in Guangzhou.
Bryant gets rock star treatment in China. Fans may remember the 2008 Beijing Olympics when Bryant, even with Michael Phelps setting the record for gold medals, was the most popular American athlete among locals. It was around that time that Bryant set up the Kobe Bryant China Fund, a philanthropic organization.
Bryant also tore down the house with this dagger for the United States in the gold medal game.
On a side note, Nike gave Bryant his own font before his trip to China. That is pretty cool.
— Guy Manno (@guy_manno) July 25, 2015
Linked: Kobe Bryant Brand Font pic.twitter.com/UGa2lDHaxm
— Pablo (@pablorovalo) July 30, 2015
— jeffrey blum (@jeffreyblum) July 30, 2015
No word if Bryant plans to train for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.