NBA legend Kobe Bryant mobbed by fans in China as he helps to set up basketball academy at Hainan resort
Former LA Lakers great is lending his name to a partnership with Mission Hills in Hainan
NBA legend Kobe Bryant has joined forces with NBA China and Mission Hills to set up the country’s first NBA Basketball School as well as an “interactive experience and store” in Haikou.
The school at the sprawling resort on China’s holiday island will be open to male and female players, from junior level to professionals, said a statement released by Mission Hills. Construction will begin this year and is expected to be completed in 2019.
“The Chinese youth will benefit from a complete approach to player development that combines NBA-quality coaching with NBA-level training,” said Bryant.
“I believe this partnership will lift the game of basketball to a higher level in China.”
NBA China CEO David Shoemaker and Ken and Tenniel Chu, who run Mission Hills, joined Bryant at the announcement.
The school will include six indoor courts with NBA China operating and staffing the facility with NBA-trained coaches.
It’s the latest partnership of its type at the resort, which recently announced a venture with FC Barcelona for a similar type of project, and a tennis academy in association with Boris Becker.
The “NBA interactive experience and store” will be located at the 22-square-kilometre resort’s giant shopping centre.
Last year, NBA China opened three training centres in Zhejiang, Shandong and Xinjiang for top Chinese male and female prospects, and is working with the ministry of education on a basketball curriculum for schools.
“This groundbreaking NBA Basketball School in Haikou further builds upon on our commitment to developing young basketball talent in China,” said Shoemaker.
“We are delighted that Mission Hills Group shares our vision and are thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to the government’s pledge to grow a sporting culture in Hainan Province,” he added.