Kobe Bryant has legions of fans in China but he doesn’t want their adoration. He wants them to be better versions of themselves.
Nike debuted a remarkable commercial Thursday to its Chinese audience in which Bryant implores fans to hate him as he bids farewell to professional basketball. However, the retiring Los Angeles Laker has an understandable reason for his strange request: He wants them to reach higher and sacrifice more in pursuit of “greatness.”
Terence Leong, creative director of advertising firm Wieden + Kennedy Shanghai told Adweek that Bryant’s message is firmly in line with how his fans in China see him.
“Kobe has an intimate relationship with the Chinese ballers, so he knows exactly how to teach and motivate them,” Leong said. “Together with Nike China and Kobe, our team crafted the script and made sure the film was just as provocative as the man himself. It was an intense and uncompromising process because Kobe was just as demanding on the creative team as he was on the Lakers.”
We can’t help but wonder how Bryant’s farewell to his stateside Nike-clad fans will look and sound.
Thumbnail photo via Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via April 6, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (24) passes against Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports