Eight days after he helped lead the U.S. to Olympic basketball gold, Kobe Bryant put on a dazzling show in China in dropping 68 points in 15 minutes at a charity exhibition game.
“I wanted to play it cool but what the heck, the place was packed with fans who’d sang an early happy birthday to me and really wanted to watch me go to work,” Bryant said in a post on his Facebook page.
The game featured two 15-minute halves and Bryant said he didn’t play in the first half but was cajoled by the crowd to lead his team back from a big halftime deficit.
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“I ran and ran and ran,” Bryant said. “I wound up scoring 68 in the 2nd and we won.”
“I didn’t want to disappoint them or the fans that had paid their hard earned money for a show so I took the challenge of really using the second half as a training session for my stamina.”
Bryant said his opponents and teammates alike featured a mix of Chinese pop singers, actors and TV personalities, all of them possessing limited basketball ability, who provided no kind of defensive opposition at all and served as a backdrop for a show of his shooting talents.
“They are not basketball players by any stretch of the imagination,” Bryant wrote. “I was just having fun with all of them and loved hearing the crowd enjoy the show we put on.”
Bryant’s involvement in the Sprint China charity game was part of his latest promotional tour of China, where he is a major star and has been participating in a series of basketball clinics and charity exhibition games.