Kobe Bryant has awed fans for nearly two decades while racking up 16 All-Star nods and five championship titles since he entered the NBA out of high school in 1996. His relentless drive and pursuit of perfection helped him score 31,700 career points—fourth highest all-time. But as Bryant ends the end of his playing days, he wants to take that passion into the business world.
With that in mind, Bryant set up Kobe Inc. last year and Sunday he talked to Forbes about his ambitions. “Kobe Inc.’s mission statement is to own and grow brands and ideas that challenge and redefine the sports industry while inspiring the world,” says the Los Angeles Lakers’ guard.
The first investment for Kobe Inc. is in emerging sports drink BodyArmor. Bryant categorized his investment as “substantial” and says, “I put my skin in the game.” Bryant will sit on the board of directors and own more than 10% of the company, according to one source familiar with the negotiations. His investment makes him the third biggest shareholder behind co-founders Mike Repole and Lance Collins. Bryant’s investment is expected to be in the $4-6 million range. “The model has always been for entertainers to get sweat equity, but I wanted to progress beyond that,” says Bryant.