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Kobe Bryant Dunks Into China with Alibaba Pact

Chinese ecommerce giant to release NBA superstar's documentary online, create Kobe-branded products and social site

NBA superstar Kobe Bryant is driving hard to the basket in China, inking a wide-ranging deal with Alibaba Group.

Under the agreement, Alibaba Group will release the L.A. Lakers shooting guard’s documentary, “Kobe Bryant’s Muse,” on Saturday, Aug. 8, exclusively through its Tmall Magic Box Internet set-top box (priced at 8 yuan, or about $1.30). The film, an account of Bryant’s life on and off the court, aired in the U.S. on Showtime earlier this year.

In addition, Alibaba Pictures will work with Bryant’s Kobe Inc. to create a series of Kobe-branded products. Those will be sold via Alibaba’s retail platforms, including Taobao Marketplace and Tmall.com, which are accessed by over 350 million active buyers across China.

See More: The NBA and Hollywood Unite for the Premiere of ‘Kobe Bryant’s Muse’

Finally, the pact calls for Alibaba and Sina to collaborate with Kobe Inc. to create a new social-media platform aimed at “connecting China’s young people directly to Kobe and his philosophies.” The two Chinese companies said the project with Bryant will be a model for other “Star, Media, Platform” properties they plan to launch together.

“I believe there is power in understanding the journey of others to help create your own,” Bryant said in a statement. “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.”

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Alibaba chairman Jack Ma, who attended a Lakers game last fall in the company of WME’s Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, positioned his deal with Bryant as providing inspiration to China’s digital generation.

“Kobe is an innovative entrepreneur who has established a legacy that extends far beyond the basketball court and is someone who can bring positive impact to the players and fans of basketball in China,” Ma said. “As the champion of entrepreneurs, Alibaba is proud to welcome Kobe into our ecosystem to work together on this meaningful project which we hope can have a positive impact on the youth in China.”

According to Sina, Bryant has more than 3 million followers on his Sina Weibo account.

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