During his playing career, Kobe Bryant made money in other ways than his performance on the court. He had numerous endorsements and multiple business ventures. Bryant was a businessman off the court and continuously made money.
When Bryant retired from the NBA in 2016, his career earnings from playing salary and endorsements totaled $680 million. In 2013 Bryant invested in a sports drink that proved to be a smart move.
Kobe Bryant’s investment with BodyArmor
In 2013, Bryant established Kobe Inc. The following year he made Kobe Inc.’s first investment in sports drink BodyArmor. Bryant could have invested in Powerade or Gatorade, but he decided to invest in a sports drink that was startup compared to the other big-name sports drinks.
He acquired more than 10 percent of the company for close to $6 million. Bryant hit the jackpot when Coca-Cola invested $300 million in BodyArmor in 2018 at a $2 billion valuation, which pushed the value of Bryant’s stake to $200 million.
Now, that is a pretty good return on investment, especially over the course of four-plus years.
Just another stream of income that Bryant was getting to go along with the other investments and endorsements he had.
When Bryant decided to invest with BodyArmor, he wanted the sports drink to be a top competitor—only fitting for Bryant to be a part of something that has a chance to do well because all of his life he’s been successful.
How did Bryant discover BodyArmor?
Bryant was introduced to the sports drink when he was rehabbing from his torn Achilles tendon. When he first tried it, he immediately thought that the drink could compete with Gatorade and Powerade. Bryant really focused on the branding and marketing of the drink at the beginning. “I really enjoy framing the story of a brand, which is what I have done with Nike for years with my product,” Bryant said in a Forbes article.
The five-time NBA champ was always looking for different ideas to get involved in various business ventures and investments. He did not take any days off. If he wasn’t practicing or playing in a game, he was talking business with his agent.
Kobe Bryant always made money
When the NBA’s salary cap rose, so did Bryant’s paycheck to go along with his expanding endorsement portfolio. Bryant had the NBA’s highest salary for six straight seasons to end his career. Early on his career, Bryant was smart and strategic about his money.
His first contract with the Lakers was worth $3.5 million over three years, and he was one of only five players to vote against the NBA’s 1999 collective bargaining agreement, which capped individual salaries. Bryant’s annual salary eventually topped $30 million, making him only the second NBA player at the time, after Michael Jordan, to hit that threshold.
BodyArmor represented one-third of Bryant’s net worth. Not only was Bryant a student of the game, but he was also a student of the business world. A lot of professional athletes go broke after their career is over, but Bryant wanted to make sure that he was in a good play financially.