Kobe Bryant is going to be doing more than fighting ghosts this summer. Although maybe there was a clue as to Bryant’s offseason agenda during his Ghostbusters ad which debuted during the NBA Finals.

“My vision is bigger than that,” said the Black Mamba at the beginning of the spot. “We built a whole studio in China!”

While we don’t know anything about any mysterious studio from “Kobe Inc” in China, Bryant is expanding his brand and doing business overseas. As reported by The Hollywood Reporter‘s Patrick Brzeski, Bryant will appear on the premiere episode of The Players, a Chinese reality TV show.

The popularity of basketball continues to grow in China since Yao Ming made his NBA debut in 2002, and The Players intends to capitalize on that. (According to the NBA, over 300 million play basketball in the country.) The show will put celebrity contestants in basketball-related challenges against teams made up of unusual types of players like Mongolian strongmen, wheelchair athletes, Thai warriors, South Korean runners, and dwarf basketball stars.

If the celebrity team loses three games, they will then have to engage in some sort of intense training challenge. Chinese basketball players like Ming and Yi Jianlian, as well as Asian TV and movie stars will also appear on the show.

Bryant’s involvement with The Players shouldn’t be a surprise, as he’s become a popular star in China. With Nike’s support, the Lakers star has made an effort during the past 10 years to engage with Chinese basketball fan and he’s tremendously popular in the country because of it. Fans call Bryant “Little Flying Warrior,” and his final NBA game was a huge event in China.

No word as to whether or not Bryant will participate in more than one episode. He’s set to shoot his appearance sometime this month, and the show will air in mid-July.


[The Hollywood Reporter]

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He's written for Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.

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