Stop Using Kobe Bryant’s Death to Promote Your Dying Cryptocurrency

Kobe Bryant’s shock death sparked outpourings of grief and tributes but this cryptocurrency company spun it into a distasteful marketing opportunity.

One cryptocurrency company went too far in seizing a marketing opportunity after Kobe Bryant's death. | Source: AFP/David Mcnew

  • Cryptocurrency project Tron and founder Justin Sun co-opts Kobe Bryant’s death to promote an upcoming blockchain conference.
  • It’s the low point in a long string of disingenuous marketing ploys from Sun.
  • Tron cryptocurrency has lost 91% of its value since highs in 2017.

Cryptocurrency company Tron and its founder Justin Sun just found a new low: co-opting the tragic death of Kobe Bryant to promote their project and conference.

In poor taste, the Tron Foundation Twitter account proclaimed Bryant a “member of the TRON family.” While Justin Sun himself dressed up a “Tron souvenir” with a Lakers jersey. Both Sun and the foundation used the memorial to promote their upcoming niTron Summit.

Justin Sun has a long history of capitalizing on every possible marketing opportunity, but this is too far.

Kobe Bryant’s children are at home without their dad and their sister this morning.

He is not “part of your family.”

Shut the hell up.

Source: Twitter

Kobe Bryant connection to Tron?

Kobe Bryant spoke at a Tron event in 2019. He talked only of his entrepreneurial journey and certainly didn’t endorse the Tron project or its cryptocurrency. Tron was even forced to admit there was no connection or endorsement:

“We can’t draw any conclusions about [Kobe’s] involvement in blockchain” – Tron spokesperson.

Sorry, but paying Kobe Bryant to speak at your conference and take a picture together doesn’t make him an advocate or mascot of your dying cryptocurrency.

Source: Twitter

Tron’s history of manipulative marketing

Justin Sun is no stranger to turning every opportunity into a disingenuous marketing event. He famously paid $4.57 million to have lunch with Warren Buffett – an appointment he later cancelled after getting sufficient media coverage.

He incorrectly announced an “official partnership” with Liverpool FC before the football club denied any involvement. Then he announced a partnership with a multi-billion “mega-corporation.” It turned out he bought some cloud computing resources from Baidu.

Just this week, he proclaimed an absurd “partnership” with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. He didn’t. They just went for lunch.

Justin Sun goes too far this time

Sun’s history of disingenuous marketing is well-known and laughed off in the cryptocurrency industry now.

But this is too far. Kobe Bryant leaves a family and children in grieving. He leaves a generation of sports fans and professional athletes in mourning.

This is not a marketing opportunity. This is tragic. Do better.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of

Last modified: March 4, 2021 2:40 PM
Ben is a journalist with a decade of experience covering financial markets. Based in London, UK, his writing has appeared in The Huffington Post and he was Chief Editor at Block Explorer, the world's longest-running source of Blockchain data. Reach him at Twitter at _Ben_Brown. Email ben @
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