Kobe Bryant realized during the last phase of his NBA career that what he earns on the court would not be enough. Sure, he made $328 million over 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers but with a huge amount of taxes, especially in California, to go along with that fortune being handed out over 20 years, Kobe didn’t satisfy.
So, in 2013, Bryant started his own investment fund with his business partner, Jeff Staple. They put in $100 million and invested in a variety of companies that went public such as BodyArmor, Dell, Alibaba and many more.
Like his former teammate, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant has followed a similar investing tactic. It is only if he believes in a product and understands its value that he will jump on board as an investor.
So, when talking about how he chooses the companies he invests in, Kobe was asked about his thoughts on companies like Nike. While he is himself a Nike athlete, $35 billion sided with the controversial figure in 2010.
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Kobe Bryant on his mindset when investing in companies like Nike.
Phil Knight has always wanted Nike to be a company that stands by the athlete. They launched the now infamous Charles Barkley video campaign in the 1990s and in the 2010s, they backed controversial NFL star, Colin Kaepernick.
Colin became a national figure in the debate when he decided to kneel for the national anthem in the December 2016 game between the 49ers and the Falcons. Soon he would lose his place on the list and be blackballed by the league.
But Nike swooped in and gave Kaepernick a voice in a campaign saying, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
This was quite the move from the company but it was the right thing to do. Kobe Bryant was asked how he felt supporting a company that did something controversial. Without any hesitation, Bryant said:
“Nike’s mission is very simple. Since Phil Knight started the company, the mandate has been to listen to the athlete’s voice. So it’s bigger than Nike. Nike’s core value is the athlete himself and so you have to stick to what the athlete believes in. If that’s what he believes in. Athlete, that’s what you support.”
Nike and the Bryant family had a quite strained relationship after the legend’s death as Vanessa Bryant invited the company to sell unauthorized shoes that were made to honor her late husband and daughter. However, this has since been sorted as Nike will continue to release new Proto Kobe as the years go by.
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