If you have a love-hate relationship with Kobe Bryant, he'd rather see you tip the scales to the latter feeling.
Bryant explains just that in a new Nike ad paying tribute to the soon-to-be-retired NBA legend and showing his impact overseas in China.
The chilling 60-second commercial has Bryant rattling off the reasons why fans love him, including being a five-time champion and one of the greatest players to ever step foot on the court, before imploring that you should hate him, instead.
"Because I pushed you when no one else would," Bryant says in the clip. "Hate me because I demanded greatness. Greatness demands everything."
Just before fading away with the Swoosh flashing on the screen, Bryant says, "Love me when you become greater," with the ad flawlessly capturing his insatiable will to be the best he could be over his 20 NBA seasons.
Wieden + Kennedy Shanghai creative director Azsa West, who worked on the clip with Nike, shed additional light on what the commercial was trying to convey.
"[Bryant] chose to focus on becoming a legend rather than being a hero," West told Adweek. "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."
Bryant plays his final NBA game Wednesday, when his Los Angeles Lakers host the Utah Jazz at the Staples Center.
Nike has already declared April 13 "Mamba Day," promising that 200 athletes will wear black and gold sneakers to honor the icon.
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(Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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