Former Laker Kobe Bryant is now officially a global ambassador for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup. Bryant shared the announcement on social media, saying that he will work with Yao Ming, who joined the event in December 2016.
As ambassador, Bryant will be in charge of promoting the World Cup taking place in China on August of next year. He will do certain activities appointed by FIBA leading up to the event. The organization has also said that Bryant is the most followed NBA player on Chinese social media which will help with the promotion of the event.
In a recent FIBA press release, Bryant shared his intentions to help basketball grow internationally.
“Growing up in Italy and spending many years visiting China, I have always appreciated the global impact that basketball has had on the positive development of young people. I’m honored FIBA has invited me to serve as an ambassador for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019. I hope my participation inspires and motivates the best players from the 32 participating teams to represent their respective country on the world’s biggest stage. I look forward to seeing who will lift the trophy next year.” He said.
The group stage in the 2019 FIBA World Cup will now include 32 teams, aside from the original 24. The top 8 teams, including Japan (host of the 2020 Summer Olympics) will qualify for the tournament at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) October 31, 2018