Skip to content Skip to footer

Mind of the Mamba: How Kobe Bryant turned himself into a businessman

kobe bryant

It’s only been one year since Kobe retired and realistically, it seems like it’s been forever.

That epic night he dropped 60 and walked away like one of the legends of our time was a great moments in recent sports memory.

After a 20-year career with five NBA titles and a record $680 million in career earnings according to Forbes, you would think this man would be resting up and laying back for the rest of his life. But you’re wrong. This is the mamba we’re talking about.

Just last summer Kobe announced he was starting up a $100 million investment fund with Jeff Stibel focusing on tech, media and data companies called Bryant Stibel. They initially reported that this deal would last over the course of a “few years” and weren’t seeking any outside investors. But what does this all really mean?

According to Stibel, the mission for this partnership is to help solve real problems and not just use Kobe’s name to help a brand promote their product.

“We don’t want to be in the business of investing in companies so someone can use Kobe as an endorser. That’s not interesting. The point is to add real value.”

Not many people might’ve known about Kobe’s business side beforehand. But this is something he’s been low key plotting for some time now. Aside from this he also has Kobe Inc., which he started in 2014 for his private investments, mostly within the sports realm, including the Body Armor partnership he made with the Lakers to set the record for single day arena merchandise sales with $1.2 million.

In an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk On The Street” he said,

“This is one of my passions. We are one gear, 100 percent laser-focused, and here we go.”

Off the jump Bryant Stibel invested into 13 companies including Alibaba, The Players Tribune, and LegalZoom. As of today they now invest in 15 companies, according to Crunch Base.

With two of these companies already acquired, and a few others pretty prominent in their respective spaces, Kobe and Stibel have also turned their attention to newer ventures like the t-shirt company Represent and VIPKid, a portal that provides an American school experience to children in China.

With all of their investments taking off at different stages of the business, what is really pushing Kobe to keep digging deeper? I mean what really inspires a man who already made a fortune playing basketball to learn a whole new game? Kobe told CNBC,

“If you really want to create something that last generations, you have to help inspire the next generation, and they create something great, and then that generation will inspire the one behind them, right? And that’s when you create something forever. And that’s what’s most beautiful.”

Kobe is all about innovating and helping new and exciting companies find their footing in their various industries. He’s always had a knack for entrepreneurship, but it wasn’t until the later years of his career when he really began thinking of the possibilities. Now Mamba’s got all the time (and capital) in the world to do whatever he wants.

In 2013, a major achilles injury made Kobe realize he was truly at the end of his career and it was time to start thinking of things outside of basketball. He told ESPN,

“I have always had ideas and always had a vision of where I wanted to go going back to 2000, but they are just ideas. Now, once the Achilles injury took place, I’m sitting at home for months not moving, a couple things set in. One is that there is only so many Modern Family episodes a person can watch. And then two, what do I do now?”

Considering how competitive Kobe was in his 20 years in the NBA, you already know he’s taking that same drive and determination into the world of business. He’s methodical, loves studying his competition, and has that killer instinct.

We’re all waiting to see your next move, Mamba.