Chinese e-commerce giant signs Kobe to wide-ranging deal

Kobe Bryant’s international star got a little brighter today. Maybe more than a little.

Kobe Inc., has reached an agreement with a Chinese e-commerce giant to release Bryant’s autobiographical documentary and create a series of Kobe-branded products to distribute to its 350 million active buyers.

Alibaba Group Holding Limited will exclusively release Kobe Bryant’s Muse through its video platform, Tmall Magic Box, available beginning Aug. 8 for $1.29 (or 8 yuan). To promote the documentary, which first aired in the U.S. on Showtime in February, Alibaba Group and Sina will collaborate with Kobe Inc., to create a new social media platform that will connect “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,” Bryant said in a press release. “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.”

The documentary, produced by Bryant himself, includes the Lakers icon addressing the tumultuous time in his life during his sexual assault case in addition to other ups and downs of his time on the court.

Over the course of his 19-year professional career, Bryant has become a well known figure in China, where basketball is extremely popular. Perhaps foreshadowing today’s agreement, Jack Ma, the founder and Executive Chairman of the Alibaba Group, sat courtside for a Lakers game last season.

“We are pleased to partner with Kobe to inspire young people all across China,” Ma said in a press release. “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. As the champion of entrepreneurs, Alibaba is proud to welcome Kobe into our ecosystem.”

Bryant will be the Alibaba Group’s model for a “Star, Media, Platform,” aiming to further connect inspirational figures with Chinese youth.

“As Kobe Inc., looks to expand in China,” Andrea Fairchild, President of Kobe Inc., said, “the partnership with Alibaba Group and Sina will help us reach a vast number of Chinese youth who are looking to reach their full potential and be inspired by others.”