Kobe Bryant was busy putting his NBA nurtured skills to the test against fans this week as the Lakers legend continues his Nike RISE Campaign tour in Asia.
As expected, Kobe saw off the challenge of a succession of keen youngsters out in Shanghai, China although he did have a few scares along the way as some complacency snuck into his one-on-one game.
Ok we admit it, the intensity was hardly that of Kevin Durant vs Paul George or James Harden that took place at Team USA minicamp today. But after his injury-plagued 2013-14 season it is just good to see Bryant making shots on a basketball court once more - even if the opposition is likely to be slightly tougher come game one of the upcoming NBA season at Staples Center.
One thing is for sure, that competitive edge certainly still remains with Kobe Bryant in typically Kobe Bryant mood ie. unwilling to give an inch against his opponent even during a supposedly 'friendly' contest.
Bryant put on the show in front of a packed out crowd in Shanghai and his popularity within Asia, and China in particular, shows no sign of dwindling.
This is the Los Angeles Lakers veteran's ninth successive tour to the country in association with Nike, and he joins LeBron James in having visited to help promote the game of basketball in recent weeks.
The videos shows above were part of a RISE challenge in which some of the most talented players in China are given the opportunity to learn from, and go up against, one of the greatest players ever to play the game.
Bryant's now annual visits to China are greeted by scenes of thousands of fans waiting for him wherever he goes, and if the Lakers man can return to anywhere near his best form next season he will only increase the numbers so desperate to catch a glimpse of him.
Lakers offseason progress
Kobe Bryant will return from his far-flung endorsement duties to meet new Lakers coach (and former teammate) Byron Scott with the LA franchise having finally made a hire after months of speculation.
And Scott will be desperate to get a fully fit Kobe Bryant on the court next season, with previous incumbent of the top job, Mike D'Antoni, only having the luxury of calling upon Kobe for six regular-season games last time out.
With additions such as Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer to go alongside the return of their hero the Lakers fans will be desperate to see an improvement on their disastrous 2013-14 form.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms