Nike Just Made This Remarkable Farewell Ad to Kobe Bryant in China, Where He’s Revered

The retiring star even helped with the script

Love him or hate him, Kobe Bryant is a legend.

In China, they mostly love him—he's made a concerted effort, with Nike, to reach out to his Chinese fans over the past decade. And the Chinese have responded with adulation all but unmatched for American sports stars.

Now, with Bryant's last game fast approaching, Nike and Wieden + Kennedy Shanghai have created a stirring 60-second tribute commercial. And it's all about that love—which Bryant says might actually be a bit misguided.

"Kobe has an intimate relationship with the Chinese ballers, so he knows exactly how to teach and motivate them," says Terence Leong, creative director of W+K Shanghai. "Together with Nike China and Kobe, our team crafted the script and made sure the film was just as provocative as the man himself. It was an intense and uncompromising process because Kobe was just as demanding on the creative team as he was on the Lakers."

W+K creative director Azsa West adds: "[Kobe] chose to focus on becoming a legend rather than being a hero. When it comes to winning, Kobe is willing to push himself to risk everything. Because standing back and doing nothing, that's real failure. This philosophy is very Nike 'Just do it,' and Kobe is the perfect person to deliver this spirit of Nike."

CREDITS

Client: Nike

Campaign: "Kobe Last Season"

Spot: "Don't Love Me, Hate Me"

Launch Date: 7 April 2016

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Shanghai

Executive Creative Director: Yang Yeo

Creative Directors: Terence Leong, Azsa West

Copywriters: Nick Finney, Wei Liu

Senior Art Director: Shaun Sundholm

Senior Designers: Patrick Rockwell, Will Dai

Integrated Production Director: Angie Wong

Assistant Producers: Yuan Fang, Jiji Hu

Offline Editor: Hiro Ikematsu

Business Director: Dino Xu

Associate Account Director: Jim Zhou

Account Executive: Shawn Kai

Senior Planner: Paula Bloodworth

Digital Strategist: Bill Tang

Project Manager: Nicole Bee

Business Affairs: Jessica Deng, Kathy Zhan

Production Companies: Elastic TV; Lunar Films

Director: Biff Butler

Line Producer: Kelly Christensen

Director of Photography: Rachel Morrison

Executive Producer (Elastic): Belinda Blacklock

Managing Director (Elastic): Jennifer Sofio Hall

Executive Producer (Lunar): Ken Yap

Post Producer (Lunar): Jeff Tannebring

Editing: Rock Paper Scissors

Editors: Biff Butler, Alyssa Oh

Post Producer: Christopher Noviello

Executive Producers: Angela Dorian, Linda Carlson

Postproduction: a52

2-D Visual Effects Artists: Michael Vaglienty, Adam Flynn

Smoke Artist: Chris Riley

Conform: Gabe Sanchez

Rotoscope Artists: Tiffany German, Cathy Shaw, Robert Shaw

Colorist: Paul Yacono

Design: Pete Sickbert-Bennett

2-D, 3-D Animation: David Do, Steven Do, Claudia De Leon, Sam Cividanis

Senior Color Producer: Jenny Bright

Producer: Drew Rissman

Head of Production: Kim Christensen

Deputy Head of Production: Carol Salek

Executive Producer: Patrick Nugent

Original Music, Sound Design, Mix: Lime Studios

Original Music: Andy Huckvale

Mixer: Zac Fisher

Assistant Mixer: Kevin McAlpine

Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan