13 Degrees of Kobe Bryant

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7th Degree: Kobe’s Krib

Everything about Kobe Bryant is ultra-large, from his size 14 Nikes to his bespoke Armani suits to the ultra-luxury watch line named for him.

And then there’s his crib: 14,500 square feet – which is the amount of elbow room he needs at home.

In 2001, He and his wife reportedly reneged on buying a $13.5 million home in a gated Orange County community south of LA. The estate had 10 bedroom suites, 13 and a half baths, a replica of a pirate boat, a lake stocked with fish, bumper boats and a pavilion.

The Bryants instead settled on a new $4 million Mediterranean-style home in a gated community in Newport Beach, Calif. The house offers magnificent views of the Pacific.

But now there’s speculation that Bryant is building a new house – a 14,500-square-foot estate in Pelican Crest, another gated community in Newport Beach. The property, about an acre, was purchased by Robert Pelinka, Bryant’s agent, for nearly $9.5 million. (Bryant could pay this off with 2013 salary earnings from 25 games.) Records say the house will be a six-bedroom estate with a two-level “sports court.”

8th Degree: One Sleek Fleet

When slumming, Bryant rides in expensive cars – chic, precision instruments as fine-tuned as his jump shot.

If you peek into his garage, you will find a half-dozen of his favorite things.

#1  Range Rover: $94,000. Horsepower: 510. White Rover; pink car seat for the kid.

#2  Ferrari F430: Well over $300,000. Can hit 60 mph in under four seconds. Kobe’s comment on driving it: “It feels like you’re strapped onto a rocket.”

#3 & #4  Bentley Continental GT Coupe (MSRP $189,900) and Bentley Azure Milliner (MSRP $334,990): Who wouldn’t want book-end Bentleys?

#5  Cadillac Escalade (MSRP $63,160): When you’re cruising with six- and seven-foot high-earners, you need a XXXL SUV ensconced in luxury.

#6  1963 Chevrolet Impala ($38,995): For leisurely drives along the Pacific Coast Highway.

9th Degree: Kobe’s World

Though raised in the U.S. and Europe, Bryant has a Japanese first name, he represents a Turkish company, maintains close ties to Asia, and is a champion in the international arena, winning a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. (He averaged 15 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting .462 from the field in 8 Olympic contests.)

But what’s really impressive isn’t so much his ball-playing prowess as his international charisma. His NBA jersey is a top-seller in China, where he is featured in a reality TV show called “Kobe Mentu,” giving pointers to hoopsters.

“Kobe is easily the most popular American NBA player among the Chinese,” said Tony Perkins, host of “Sports Scene,” an ESPN-style show on China Central Television (CCTV). ”He comes to China every off-season on a tour that includes visiting schools and playgrounds, and often answers questions at an auditorium session in Beijing.”

“An interesting note is that most NBA players’ names are too hard for Chinese to pronounce. Kobe is the rare exception, because the two parts of his name, ko and be, correspond to two existing Chinese characters. The names Blake Griffin, LeBron James or Kevin Garnett are never seen or heard in mainland Chinese media. Instead, the Chinese substitute other names that work within their language to refer to these athletes. If I say, ‘Did you see the dunk Blake Griffin laid down last night?’ to a Chinese co-worker, he will have no idea who it is I’m talking about.”

CCTV news reporter Zhao Nan said: “Kobe is phenomenal for both basketball and non-basketball fans here. Most of the girl fans don’t even know much about the NBA, but they know Kobe very well. For them, the NBA’s growing popularity here is like a fashion, and loving Kobe means you are following the hottest trend.”

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