Kobe Bryant learns Mandarin, reveals he can’t spin a basketball

For far too long, we’ve seen Kobe Bryant do the unthinkable.

Making shots through double teams. Throwing down thunderous dunks despite 17 NBA seasons of basketball mileage. Playing through injury after injury after injury.

As the video above by Youtube user KB824Legend shows during his recent trip to China, however, there are some things Bryant can’t do. He may be fluent in English, Italian and Spanish, but Bryant noticeably struggles saying his name in Mandarin. Bryant can do everything with a basketball, except spinning one. That’s because of the fractured index finger he suffered three years ago, an injury that still hasn’t fully healed.

It might be surprising to see Bryant struggle with something after mostly seeing him dominate on the court. But it’s also insightful to see him at his most vulnerable. Bryant hardly frets much about his struggles speaking Mandarin, and steal tries to speak with great enthusiasm. When the CCTV host Sa Beining asks Bryant to spin a basketball, the Lakers star didn’t seem bashful one bit in admitting he can’t do it.

To which Beining offered a rightfully collective shrug.

“You guys probably think Kobe can do everything, but even Kobe is human,” Beining said in Mandarin. “But so what? He’s still Kobe. Not being able to spin the ball doesn’t make him a less effective basketball player. Kobe Bryant has an indomitable spirit.”


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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@dailynews.com