Shaq and Kobe have statues in China
The NBA was popular in China far before Yao Ming, Wang Zhi Zhi, and Mengke Bateer. Players such as Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, and Tracy McGrady have always been household names amongst basketball fans in China. However, the only ones that have statues of themselves are Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. The two players do not even have a statue outside of the Staples Center in Los Angeles, but the Chinese felt like they were deserving of one even still.
Shaq’s statue stands at a whopping 50 feet high and was part of an endorsement deal with a Chinese sportswear company. Kobe’s statue is much smaller, but much newer and stands in front of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts.