Kobe Bryant Leaves Behind Big Business Legacy

Kobe Bryant Leaves Behind Big Business Legacy
Kobe Bryant was known to the business world as a brand-builder; an investor; and a coach to company founders.

Kobe Bryant's legacy extends beyond his time on the basketball court. He was also known to the business world as a brand-builder, an investor, and a coach to company founders.

Kobe Bryant died Sunday in a helicopter crash in California, the United States at the age of 41.

"For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a Sunday statement." He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share with future generations of players."

In 2013, the basketball player co-founded venture capital firm Bryant Stibel along with Web.com founder Jeff Stibel. The firm, with investments in technology, media and data companies, now has more than $2 billion in assets. Bryant Stibel had successfully invested in Dell and Alibaba as well.

The athlete also made millions of dollars on his investment in sports drink Body Armor, which in 2018 increased its valuation by selling a stake to Coca Cola.

In 2016, Bryant founded Granity Studios, a media company that focuses on creative storytelling around sports. Through this company, he wrote and narrated a short film called "Dear Basketball," which won the Oscar for best animated short film in 2018. Granity has also released a well-favored by readers Bryant's autobiography, "The Mamba Mentality: How I Play."

Bryant, known in basketball as "Black Mamba," began to build his brand as an athlete early in his career as a Nike endorser. The basketball star first signed an endorsement deal with Nike in 2003. The deal helped the shoe manufacturer Nike to solidify its position in the basketball world for the next couple decades following Michael Jordan's 2003 retirement.

"We are devastated by today's tragic news," Nike said in a statement Sunday. "He was one of the greatest athletes of his generation and has had an immeasurable impact on the world of sport and the community of basketball."

Bryant also had endorsement deals with a number of other brands throughout his career, including McDonald's, Sprite, Alibaba and Turkish Airlines.