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Kobe Bryant's Marketing Rebound

Kobe Bryant
AP
Kobe Bryant

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is continuing with his marketing comeback, as the reigning league MVP very well could be called the star of the newest commercial for Activision'sGuitar Hero World Tour. (He is, after all, the one with the microphone).

That's saying a lot considering the commercial, which hit the airwaves a couple days ago, also stars Alex Rodriguez, Michael Phelps and Tony Hawk.

"It was an opportunity to have some fun and show a side of Kobe that's real and would make people laugh," said Bryant's agent Rob Pelinka.

It's the second video game Bryant has been associated with in recent years. His first deal after many sponsors let his contracts go following the sexual assault case—the civil case was settled, the criminal case was dropped—was Sony's NBA '07.

Then came an endorsement of Vitaminwater, now ironically the product of Coke. Bryant was the spokesperson for Coke's Sprite brand until they let his contract expire and signed LeBron James.

One company that has always stood by Bryant is Nike. Though they kept him on the sidelines throughout the trial, it's easy to see that Bryant is now considered the brand's top endorser, not James, who gets paid more.

Bryant was the face of Nike's Olympic shoe, the Hyperdunk. And rightfully so. He's an absolute diety in China, where he has the best selling jersey. If you haven't heard, the buzz of the shoe world is that it's Bryant's shoe, not LeBron's, that has the wow factor.

The shoe is called the Zoom Kobe IV and is scheduled to hit stores Feb. 2 in the United States and Jan. 1 in China.

It's no surprise that China is getting the priority these days. Not only is the China market growing at a much faster clip for Nike, but it's possible that Bryant is an even bigger figure over there.

One industry insider told us he wouldn't be surprised if Bryant's next two endorsement deals came from Chinese companies. Pelinka would not discuss whether or not any Asia deals were imminent.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com