Kobe Bryant leaves behind a business empire that stretched beyond the basketball court
Kobe Bryant’s legacy extends beyond his time on the basketball court. He was also known to the business world as a brand-builder; an investor; and a coach to other athletes and company founders.
Bryant died Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California at the age of 41.
“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement Sunday. “He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share with future generations of players.”
Bryant diversified his career by breaking into the investing world even before leaving the NBA. In 2013, he co-founded venture capital firm Bryant Stibel along with Web.com founder Jeff Stibel.
In 2014 he announced he’d formed Kobe Inc., based in Newport Beach, with plans to develop brands that would upend the sports industry. The first investment through the company was sports drink BodyArmor. That initial $6-million investment grew to a value of $200 million after Coca-Cola acquired a minority stake in 2018.
Bryant’s firm now has more than $2 billion in assets, with investments in dozens of technology, media and data companies. Bryant Stibel claims at least 10 successful exits, including Dell and Alibaba. It also has investments in Fortnite creator Epic Games, digital payment company Klarna and household products firm The Honest Company.
The production company’s most well-known effort was a 5 1/2-minute animated short that Bryant wrote and produced called “Dear Basketball.” It was based on a poem of the same name that Bryant wrote to announce his retirement. The project, scored by five-time Oscar-winning composer John Williams, won an Academy Award for best animated short in 2018.
Bryant found success outside Hollywood, too. He co-founded the Mamba Sports Academy, The business, which bills itself as a “full-circle facility designed to update the way men, women and youth approach human performance,” has hosted players from the NBA and WNBA, offered football strength and conditioning, Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournaments, volleyball camps and sports performance conferences.
Bryant also found time to write. His book “The Mamba Mentality” — using the nickname he gave himself during his basketball career — was released in late 2018. It offered a “deep dive inside the mind” of Bryant.
R.I.P. Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant ,Alyssa Altobelli,Keri Altobelli,Christina Mauser,Payton Chester,Sarah Chester & Ara Zobayan