NBA superstar Kobe Bryant was recently in China for the launch of the NBA Basketball Academy in Mission Hills Haikou. While he was at it, the former Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard sported the unreleased version of the Nike Kobe A.D. Mid, and fans all over the world are aching to cop it.
Bryant interacted with young players and basketball enthusiasts in China to promote the NBA Basketball Academy-Mission Hills Haikou as construction begins this year, with an expected date of completion in 2019, the South China Morning Post reported. According to an official statement from Mission Hills, the facility will be open to both male and female players from junior to professional levels.
“The Chinese youth will benefit from a complete approach to player development that combines NBA-quality coaching with NBA-level training,” the retired five-time NBA champion told the crowd.
Although the new NBA Basketball Academy will be designed and built by the Mission Hills Group, the institution will be operated by NBA China. Bryant said that he believes this new partnership will make basketball an even more popular sport in China.
The upcoming NBA China Basketball School will feature six indoor courts. An “NBA interactive experience and store” will also be one of the many sights to visit and it is found within the resort’s giant shopping center.
While playing with young basketball players, the 39-year-old wore an unreleased colorway of his brand new Nike Kobe A.D. Mid. The all-white pair features gum soles, giving it a sleek and modern look.
According to Sole Collector, there’s no word so far from Nike about the tonal white Nike Kobe A.D. Mid release date. However, fans can expect the shoes to appear become available in Nike Basketball retailers as early as October.
Kobe Bryant debuted the Nike Kobe A.D. Mid on August 24. The new sneaker design from Black Mamba comes with Lunarlon foam and Zoom Air cushioning. The colors for the initial pack were inspired by color psychology, with each tonal pair representing a unique trait.
Meanwhile, the LA Lakers are set to retire both of Kobe Bryant’s jersey numbers, 8 and 24, in a special ceremony this December. The event will take place during the halftime of the Laker’s game against the Golden State Warriors on December 18, ESPN wrote.
Bryant started his professional basketball career with the number 8 jersey. He switched to number 24 during the 2006-2007 season and used it until his retirement in April 2016.
Kobe Bryant is the 10th basketball player to have his jersey number retired by the Los Angeles Lakers. Before him, Lakers had hung up the jersey numbers of Wilt Chamberlain, Gail Goodrich, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Shaquille O’Neal, James Worthy, Jamaal Wilkes, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Throughout his 20-year career with the Lakers, Bryant scored 33,643 careers points, rounding up the top three all-time best list following Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.
[Featured Image by Harry How/Getty Images]