NBA basketball superstar Kobe Bryant has formed his own company and has invested in sports drink brand BodyArmor as he plans for life after his playing career.
The Los Angeles Lakers guard, who is out of action for the remainder of the 2013-14 season with a knee injury, told US sports broadcaster ESPN that he has formed Kobe Inc. and is building a team around him to start new businesses and evaluate investing in others. “We want to own and help grow brands and ideas that challenge and redefine the sports industry while inspiring,” Bryant said. “If it doesn't have the limbs of the sports industry, which I understand extremely well, then I probably won't touch it.”
Bryant said he has been inspired by the successful business careers of other NBA legends like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson and is keen to explore a new approach to his off-the-court activities. “I want to be a part of something and if you want to be a true entrepreneur you have to put skin in the game,” Bryant added. “At this stage in my life, I don't have the interest in taking on any more endorsements.”
Bryant’s first investment will see him become the third largest stakeholder in BodyArmor – a coconut water-based beverage. “That Kobe chose us helps validate what we bring to the table as a brand,” BodyArmor co-founder Michael Repole said. “We're honoured to have one of the most elite players of all time on our team and I'm confident, given all the conversations that I've had with Kobe over the last month, that once his career is done, he will be as successful of an entrepreneur as he was a basketball player.”
BodyArmor is engaged in endorsement deals with Andrew Luck and Rob Gronkowski of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots, along with Mike Trout and Buster Posey of MLB’s Los Angeles Angels and San Francisco Giants.