An 81-point boost for Kobe's marketing power
Kobe Bryant's recent scoring-fest might help him make up for lost time in the marketing world.The Los Angeles Lakers guard, whose 81 points Sunday night in a win over Toronto is the second-highest single-game total in NBA history, saw his endorsements wane following a sexual-assault allegation 2½ years ago. Nutella, McDonald's, Spalding and Coca-Cola all chose not to renew their contracts with Bryant after they expired. But Nike, which signed him to a five-year, $45 million deal in June 2003, has kept its relationship with Bryant. His Nike apparel line (called the Izzo) is currently in sporting goods retailers around the country, and his first signature shoe by Nike -- called the Zoom Kobe I -- is scheduled to hit stores Feb. 11, to be priced at $130 a pair.
|Selling Kobe's 81|
| Kobe Bryant's 81-point performance has turned into a cottage industry. On Tuesday, Google will begin selling the game, available in entirety, for $3.95 on the Web site's video store as part of the company's new joint venture with the NBA.
On Wednesday, the NBA Store in Manhattan will be selling Los Angeles Lakers jerseys with the number 81 and "Kobe" on the back. A commemorative Spalding basketball is also expected to be available at the store and online at NBA.com.
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