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Stephen Curry has surpassed Kobe Bryant in China jersey sales by using Bryant’s own method

Stephen Curry, Kobe Bryant

Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry has seen an immense rise in popularity in the last few years, even before the start of his first MVP season in 2014-15 or his first NBA title, or his decision to join Under Armour after wearing Nike for the first few years of his career.

Curry has led the NBA in jersey sales for two straight seasons and now has surpassed Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant in jersey sales this past April, with what Warriors president Rick Welts calls “the Kobe Bryant playbook,” according to Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports.

Bryant has visited China every year since 1998. By comparison, Curry, whose latest shoe has a “Year of the Rooster” colorway that is meant to honor the locals, has now made six trips to China during his eight-year career (three with the Warriors, and three with Under Armour). Curry was one of 25 NBA players to visit here this latest offseason.

The 28-year-old point guard has gone beyond just business strategy, but used his annual visits to China as a means to relax, sightsee, and give fans something to look forward to during the offseason.

Stephen Curry Kobe Bryant

USA Today Images

“To be able to give them a piece of me, but something that reflects their culture and not just cut, copy and paste what we do in the states and bring it here (is important),” Curry said. “(Chinese fans) have a genuine passion for the game, and it’s kind of crazy. It shocks you how much they know about you, the lengths that they go to get up close and personal, whether it’s coming to the hotel trying to get an autograph out front, or whether it’s coming to an activation event, or coming to a preseason game. The culture is so different, (and) it’s something you don’t want to take for granted.”

Curry’s popularity is based largely in his success and his appearance. Like 2011 MVP Derrick Rose, Curry stands at 6-foot-3, but is of a much leaner build at 190 pounds, and with a finesse to his game that is the most comparable to the average basketball player that can’t pull off tomahawk dunks and air-defying chasedown blocks.

Coupled with his charisma and approach to his fans, he’s become the most popular basketball player in China, with fans flooding every event wearing his No. 30 jersey.