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Monday, January 27, 2020

Receiving News of Kobe Bryant's Death in the Midst of Hong Kong Protests, a Spreading Virus, and a Lunar New Year

police blocking Portland Street in Mong Kok, Hong Kong
A blocked section of Portland Street next to Langham Place


While police nearby guarded a street blocked due to a long night of protests in Mong Kok, Hong Kong, a young man next to me exclaimed, "Whoah!"

When I looked at him he said, seemingly stunned, "Did you know Kobe Bryant died?"

"No. Wait, what?"

He showed me his phone.

mobile phone displaying New York Post article on Kobe Bryant's death


He then expressed his shock over the news and shared how he had been a fan of Bryant since being a child.

Kobe Bryant has a large number of fans in mainland China as well. Patrick Brzeski reported on how people there were saddened by the news:
By mid-afternoon, local time, the hashtag devoted to Bryant's death on Weibo had attracted an astounding 2.4 billion views and tens of millions of engagements, making it by far the most widely read and discussed topic of the day.

The reports of Bryant's death seemed only to compound the dismay many millions in China have been feeling over the deadly coronavirus that has plunged the country into crisis during the family holiday season of Lunar New Year. A common refrain on social media was a plea wishing that 2020 could simply be started over. . . .

Just three days ago, Bryant posted a happy Chinese New Year message to his own Weibo profile, where he has 9.2 million followers. "Xin Chun Kuai Le to my dear friends in China!" he wrote.

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