Kobe Bryant, tragically killed with daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash on January 26, was a legend in so many ways, including as one of the highest-paid sports stars in history. Black Mamba, as he was known, had amassed a tremendous net worth – $680 million over the course of his 20-year career, as estimated by Forbes. In 2016, the L.A. Laker retired as the third highest scoring player of all time in the NBA, behind Kareem Adbul-Jabbar and Karl Malone. Demonstrating just how successful he was as a global icon and businessman, though, he was in a league of his own when it came to his fortune.
Kobe’s two-decade $680 million fortune was earned in part through salary and endorsements, featuring in advertisements by such international brands as Nike, Hublot and Panini. In 2016, the year he retired, he was ranked #10 on Forbes best-paid athletes list, and at #33 on the list of richest entrepreneurs under 40.
In fact, back in 2003 at the beginning of his career, his contract with Nike was one of the most lucrative at the time, at $40 million. But Kobe wasn’t just a a popular NBA figure, he was also a sharp businessman. In 2013, the Lakers phenomenon and partner Jeff Stibel established capital fund Bryant-Stibel.
According to Forbes, Kobe and his business partner invested in 15 companies ranging from media to technology. The Kobe-backed sports drink Body Armor found an investor in Coca Cola in 2018, meaning, reported ESPN at the time, that his $6 million investment ballooned to $200 million in just about four years.
Undoubtedly Kobe – who sadly leaves behind wife Vanessa Bryant and daughters Natalia, Bianka and Capri – was a beloved figure in sports whose many talents went far beyond the court. He will be missed.