Kobe Bryant, China's Alibaba Team on 'Muse' Documentary
Bryant, Alibaba and Sina will also team up on branded products for online platforms.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has announced a wide-ranging deal with Kobe Bryant's company to release the L.A. Laker star's recent Showtime doc Kobe Bryant’s Muse exclusively through Tmall Magic Box.
The Chinese online giant's movie unit, Alibaba Pictures, will also work with Kobe Inc. to create a series of Kobe-branded products and distribute them through Alibaba Group’s popular retail platforms, including Taobao Marketplace and Tmall.com, which are accessed by over 350 million active buyers throughout China.
Bryant is both the subject and executive producer of Kobe Bryant’s Muse, in which he opens up about the "dark days" of his sexual assault case and lessons he learned from Michael Jackson. The narrative will be available for viewing at Tmall Magic Box for $1.29 (eight yuan).
The doc was produced by Gotham Chopra (son of Deepak Chopra).
"I believe there is power in understanding the journey of others to help create your own," said Bryant. "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."
To promote the doc, Alibaba and Sina will collaborate with Kobe Inc. to create a brand new social media platform, bringing new avenues of connecting China’s young people directly to Kobe and his philosophies.
The two webcos will also establish a "SMEP" (Star, Media, Platform) model of collaboration in the cultural arena, aiming to further connect inspirational figures with Chinese youth so their achievements and legacies can be learned and shared among the youngsters.
Bryant is a major figure in China, where basketball is huge. There are more than 300 million people playing regularly, and retired Houston Rockets player Yao Ming is still one of the most popular people in the country.
Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of the Alibaba Group, who sat courtside at a Lakers game during a visit last year, described Bryant as 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 to work together on this meaningful project which we hope can have a positive impact on the youth in China," Ma said in a statement.
Andrea Fairchild, president of Kobe Inc., said the partnership with Alibaba Group and Sina would help the company "reach a vast number of Chinese youth who are looking to reach their full potential and be inspired by others."
"They offer an opportunity for Kobe Inc. to bring content, products and services to a diverse crowd with various cultural backgrounds," said Fairchild.