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Mace & Crown | April 22, 2018

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The Ultimate Athlexec: How Kobe Bryant is taking the business world by storm

The Ultimate Athlexec: How Kobe Bryant is taking the business world by storm

Contributing Writer | Jazzmyn Bradley

For decades, there has been a longstanding belief that majority of professional athletes end up under financial stress shortly after their careers end. Although documentaries such as the ESPN “30 for 30” film, depicts this message about athletes truthfully, several former stars have assimilated into the business world successfully. They have achieved this by investing in startups, pursuing entrepreneurial ventures, merely becoming business professionals in their own right or even electing to partake in team front office positions. Some athletes have even risked large sums of their earnings by purchasing professional teams as well.

After their playing days are over athletes, need to find another athlete to dedicate their time too. Kobe Bryant is still up all hours of the night these days, but instead of working on his turnaround jumper, he is chatting with companies that he invests his earnings in. Bryant has transferred his Mamba Mentality from the court to the boardroom as he strives to be the best businessman he can be.

The founder and chairman at BodyArmor, a sports drink brand that Bryant provided capital for back in 2014 once stated, “Text at 3 in the morning and he responds a minute later, that’s when I realized he was psychotic and invested in the business as I was.” If Bryant can take his work ethic that allowed him to succeed in the NBA to boardrooms and executive offices, it is safe to say he will become a force in any industry.

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant walks down the court during the first half of Bryant’s last NBA basketball game, against the Utah Jazz, Wednesday, April 13, 2016, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Express Web Desk (Indiana Express)

Now to highlight Bryants sport accomplishments. Kobe Bryant began establishing records within his first couple of years in the league. In 1998 at the age of 19 he became the youngest starting All-Star in NBA history. He was immersed in a starting lineup with legends such as; Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, and the sharpshooting Reggie Miller. Kobe was fortunate enough to be selected to 14 All-NBA teams, 10 of which are First-Team and 12 All-Defensive Team with 9 of those being All-Defensive-First-Team. This stat proves he was one of the best overall competitors being able to be successful on both sides of the ball is a rarity in the glorification of offense in today’s league. He is also impressively the third all-time in points scored in the history of the league. The most significant accomplishment of all in sports is championships of course.

Kobe Bryant steam-rolled his way to five title wins. He completed a 3-peat championship run alongside Shaquille O’Neal one of the most dominant centers in the last 20 years of the league. Kobe proved he could succeed without Shaq when he captured his final two rings 08’-10’ with a slew of critical role players while earning Finals MVP in both title games.

Mamba(Bryant) hung up his basketball shoes one last time in Hollywood movie-like fashion on April 13, 2016, with hopes of conquering the business world. Bryant was determined to turn BodyArmor into a strong competitor for Gatorade and Powerade; he points out that sales are slowing for both products. Therefore, this is the perfect time to emerge as an alternative to those market leaders in Gatorade and Powerade. He is now the creative director of BodyArmor’s ad campaign and advocates in various stores globally to carry their product. In 2013 Bryant along with Jeff Stibel established a firm; Bryant Stibel to provide strategic, financial and operational support to businesses with focuses on technology, media, and data companies. Three years later the duo announced a $100 million media, tech and data fund.

Since then they have invested in 13 companies, including The Players’ Tribune, LegalZoom and Scopely. The purpose of their venture capital fund is to emphasize startup teams that will hopefully turn into successful companies to advance the media, tech, and data industries.

Oscar award-winning Kobe Bryant is the perfect example of the lengths athletes can go when they use their platform and earnings strategically to become successful in other industries. It is interesting how he revealed this other persona once he retired. Now he is a well respected business consultant and entrepreneur. Bryant’s legacy continues to inspire other athletes to rise above stereotypes to become groundbreaking and innovative individuals.