Kobe Bryant meets superfan who recovered stolen jersey
Kobe Bryant wanted to personally thank a superfan who played an integral role in the recovery of a jersey stolen from his high school, and the NBA legend made sure to do just that during a recent visit to China.
Lower Merion High School, Bryant’s alma mater in Ardmore, Pa., was the target of a burglary in 2017 in which several pieces of the superstar’s memorabilia was stolen, including the aforementioned No. 33 jersey.
Liu Zhe, a 28-year-old native of Harbin, China, purchased the jersey in 2018 after recognizing it as the one stolen and purchased it for $2,000 from an online seller. He later reached out to Lower Merion’s basketball team on Instagram and arranged for it to be mailed back to the school. Liu asked for nothing in return for the remarkable gesture.
With Bryant in China last week to promote the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, a meeting with Liu was arranged.
The meeting occurred last weekend at an event in Shenzhen, China, where Bryant was promoting his recently released children’s book, “The Wizenard Series: Training Camp.”
While Liu has met Bryant a few times, both in the U.S. and in China, this time not surprisingly was much more rewarding.
Sure enough, Kobe Bryant met up with Liu Zhe – the fan who returned Kobe’s stolen high school jersey to Lower Merion – during his visit to China for the FIBA World Cup draw pic.twitter.com/Fadsj7zZ36— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) March 17, 2019
Liu later discussed his amazing encounter with Bryant.
“I asked Kobe, ‘Do you remember me?'” Liu told ESPN. “He told me, ‘Yes, thank you for returning the jersey. You did a great thing.'”
Liu used the opportunity to give Bryant a letter he wrote for him, detailing what the two-time NBA Finals MVP means to him.
“Thank you, Kobe,” the letter concluded. “Thank you for 20 years company. Mamba never out!”
Liu also walked away from the brush with his basketball hero with a great piece of memorabilia, as Bryant signed a poster-sized photo featuring the two taken at a basketball camp in L.A. back in 2018.
“Do epic things!” Bryant added to his autograph.