Retired NBA superstar Kobe Bryant is pretty popular in China. In fact, you might even say Bryant is revered in an almost god-like way by many Chinese NBA fans.

Last December, students at Beihua University in Jilin paid tribute to the former LA Lakers player, painstakingly shovelling snow off a basketball court to render a massive portrait of him.

The adulation for the athlete is so intense that he even made an advertisement with Nike in April imploring his fans to stop loving him, and to hate him instead.

“You love me,” Bryant says in the stirring ad. “But you shouldn’t. You should hate me.”

Now Bryant, you is known as Xiao Fei Xia (小飞侠), or the "Little Flying Warrior,"  is set to appear on the debut episode of The Players 《星球者联盟》, a new Chinese reality show on Dragon TV.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show features Chinese celebrities competing in basketball-related challenges against rival teams made up of Mongolian strongmen, “Thai warriors” and the Court Kingz, the popular US dwarf basketball team.

There is also a South Korean running team, a “street fighter” team and a wheelchair basketball team. If the contestants lose three games, they are eliminated and forced to engage in an intense training regimen of some kind.

Bryant will shoot his first episode in China later this month, and the premiere is set to air sometime in mid-July. It’s not clear if Bryant will appear more than once.

Photo: Business Insider

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