An Upset Kobe Bryant Was Preparing to Battle Nike at Time of His Death

In Kobe Bryant‘s first few years into retirement, he quickly adjusted to the lifestyle behind immediate success. The former LA Lakers star’ accomplishments with his post-career business ventures inspired other professional athletes . Before his tragic passing, Bryant had a potential game-changing business move ahead.

Kobe Bryant’s career ventures after retirement

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Following Kobe Bryant‘s retirement in 2016, many questions arose concerning whether he could make the transition.

Bryant quickly answered the call as he found immediate success beyond his active endorsement deals with the likes of Nike, Turkish Airlines, and Lenovo. He promptly launched Bryant-Stibel with his business partner Jeff Stibel in August 2016, a venture capital that focuses on businesses in various industries with $100 million funding.

In 2018, he helped create the Mamba Sports Academy, which is a joint athletic-training business. Bryant also co-wrote several young adult novels through Granity Studios, his own formed publishing company. The former Lakers star became the first African-American to win the Academy Award for Best Animated short film and the first professional athlete to receive that honor for Dear Basketball.

All that pushed his net worth to approximately $600 million at the time of his death. Before that tragic incident, Bryant was nearing another game-changing move that could have netted millions.

Kobe Bryant had plans to leave Nike to start his own show brand

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Throughout the bulk of his NBA career, Kobe Bryant had an endorsement deal with Nike.

The company developed clothing and a signature shoe line around the Lakers star guard that has become one of their staple products. However, venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar revealed on Tuesday that Bryant was unhappy with Nike and had plans to start Mamba, a shoe company owned by players.

I met with Kobe Bryant in late December 2019. Kobe wasn’t happy with Nike and was going to leave it in 2020,” Pishevar stated on Twitter. “Kobe was going to start Mamba, a shoe company owned by players. He passed away weeks later. What he was about to do in business was going to eclipse his sports career.”

Bryant had been with Nike for 17 years before his tragic passing, which there hadn’t been any rumblings concerning a possible departure. Pishevar, a co-founder of Sherpa Capital that invests in companies such as Airbnb and Uber, also voiced that the Hall of Famer wasn’t happy with Nike’s commitment to his signature shoe line while placing the blame on them for the declining sales.

Bryant could have headed down a path that changed the game in the shoe industry. It had the opportunity to open the door for other professional athletes to explore and become a significant business venture.

Legacy remains forever cemented

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Although it’s been nearly a year since Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others tragically passed away, but there remains the shock factor.

The reality that Bryant is no longer here hasn’t settled in for many that still pulls strongly at heartstrings. However, it has brought forth a greater appreciation for the impact he continues to have on the game.

If the massive outpouring of respect and admiration for Bryant after his passing didn’t make it clear enough, he had a tremendous influence on the entire sports world. It went well beyond his play as his mental approach to his craft is one that many have adopted that fearless mindset and commitment to their profession.

Bryant’s fingerprints on the game will forever be in the NBA as he was not only one of the greatest players, but one that garnered immense respect. The actuality that he has passed away may not ever fully sink in for many, but his presence holds a timeless spot over the league.