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Beattie Report onChina Kobe Bryant

Beattie Report onChina Kobe Bryant
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Q&A Sin & Beattie / China Kobe Bryant / In yet another sign of the explosive popularity of basketball in China, American professional player Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers stirred up plenty of excitement after opening an account on the Chinese-language micro blogging website, Sina (see-nuh) Weibo (way-boh), with an estimated 400-million users. Bryant's first message Friday morning (February 14) was a cryptic reference to the Lakers' game that night against the Los Angeles Clippers. His Chinese followers numbered in the hundreds of thousands within hours. Bryant is widely known and hugely popular in China having posted a message a few days earlier marking the Lunar New Year on the Weibo account of Nike Basketball. Named Black Mamba, he wished his followers a happy New Year. Ben Sin, a Hong Kong and U.S./based freelance journalist, has been following the growing basketball phenomenon in China for years. It has been underscored by the success of former Shanghai Sharks and Houston Rockets player Yao Ming who retired from Houston after eight seasons in 2011. Ben Sin tells VOA's Victor Beattie basketball is becoming, or has already become, the most popular sport in China.