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Unraveling The 'All-Time Great Shooting Guard' Kobe Bryant's $600 Million Legacy

Bryant's endorsement deals with well-known brands boosted his income significantly, solidifying his status as a successful athlete-entrepreneur.
UPDATED AUG 24, 2023
Image Source: GettyImages/ Christian Petersen
Image Source: GettyImages/ Christian Petersen

Kobe Bryant, a legendary NBA player, left a lasting impact on and off the basketball court. His incredible skill and accomplishments in the sport earned him substantial earnings during his playing career. Additionally, his business acumen and strategic investments contributed significantly to his impressive net worth of $600 million at the time of his tragic death in a helicopter crash in January 2020.

As a prominent figure in the NBA, Kobe Bryant made substantial earnings from his playing career with the Los Angeles Lakers. His total earnings from the team amounted to an impressive $323,312,307, ranking him sixth on the list of highest NBA earners. Beyond his salary, Bryant's popularity and influence allowed him to secure lucrative endorsement deals with well-known brands such as McDonald's, Nike, and Mercedes-Benz. These endorsement partnerships boosted his income significantly, solidifying his status as a successful athlete-entrepreneur.

Cover Image Source: GettyImages/Jim Rogash
Image Source: GettyImages/Jim Rogash

One of Kobe Bryant's most successful business investments occurred while he was still an active NBA player. He invested $6 million in the sports drink company, Body Armor, in exchange for a 10% equity stake in the company. Beyond being an investor, Bryant also served as a spokesperson for the brand and actively participated in recruiting other brand ambassadors.

In 2021, Coca-Cola announced a deal to acquire a controlling stake in Body Armor, valuing the company at $8 billion. This acquisition proved to be highly profitable for Bryant's estate, earning them around $400 million from the deal, as per Wall Street Journal.

Alongside Jeff Stibel, a venture capital investor, Kobe Bryant co-founded the venture capital firm Bryant Stibel in 2013. The firm focused on investing in technology, media, and data-related businesses, both in their early stages of growth and larger, established companies. Some notable investments made by Bryant Stibel include The Players' Tribune, Art of Sport, Dell, Alibaba, and Epic Games. By 2021, the firm had amassed over $2 billion in assets, showcasing the success of Bryant's foray into the world of venture capitalism.

Image Source: GettyImages/Frederick M. Brown
Image Source: GettyImages/Frederick M. Brown

Even after Kobe Bryant's passing, his legacy in the business world continued. In 2022, the Bryant estate signed a new agreement with Nike to continue producing the late basketball star's signature shoes. This partnership also included a special shoe to honor Bryant's daughter, Gianna 'Gigi' Bryant. The enduring popularity of Kobe's shoes among NBA players and his global fanbase demonstrated the lasting impact of his brand even after his untimely demise.

Image Source: GettyImages/	David Livingston
Image Source: GettyImages/ David Livingston

While Kobe Bryant's journey as a businessman was met with considerable success, there were also legal battles to contend with. In 2022, his widow, Vanessa Bryant, was awarded $16 million in a lawsuit against Los Angeles County. The lawsuit was in response to deputies and firefighters sharing graphic photos of the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Kobe, Gianna, and seven others.

The invasion of privacy and emotional distress caused by the dissemination of these images led to the legal victory for the Bryant estate.

In 2020, Kobe Bryant was posthumously inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, a fitting recognition of his extraordinary contributions to the sport. At the enshrinement ceremony, Vanessa Bryant and NBA legend Michael Jordan paid tribute to Kobe's legacy, not just as a basketball player but also as a visionary investor and businessman.