In a country battling a public health emergency, a basketball player — for one day, anyway — took the spotlight.
If there was any doubt that former Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant was the most popular foreign athlete in China, the country’s reaction to his tragic death on Sunday should end the debate. On Sina Weibo, the hashtag #科比去世# (kēbǐ qùshì — #KobeDead) racked up more than 4 billion views over the course of Monday, more than any other subject. Condolences for Bryant’s family and memories of the “Black Mamba” — a nickname that Chinese fans particularly adored — also poured in on social media.
“Goodbye, my youth,” one person wrote.