Kobe Bryant was reportedly worth $600 million at the time of his death, thanks to his business investments and 20-year NBA career.
According to BodyArmor founder Mike Repole, Kobe’s widow Vanessa has inherited control over his stake of the company.
In 2013, Bryant invested $5 million to acquire a 10% stake in the sports drink brand, which is well on its way to surpassing $1 billion in retail revnue by the end of this year.
Repole told Fox Business, “I lost a dear friend. I lost a brother with Kobe and BodyArmor lost a founding father. Kobe Bryant’s fingerprints are all over the BodyArmor brand. The brand wouldn’t be in the position it’s in if Kobe wasn’t a believer back in 2012 and 2013.”
“For me, this has always been a journey, the last seven or eight years, with Kobe, and now I feel like this is a journey for Kobe,” Repole added. “To me, BodyArmor really is his business legacy. Kobe saw in BodyArmor, when we were under $5 million in sales, what nobody else saw.”
By 2018, Kobe’s stake was reportedly worth $200 million after Repole made a deal with Coca-Cola, valuing his company at $2 billion.
Along with investing in the company, Bryant was also part of the company’s board of directors, served as one of its most prominent brand ambassadors, and gave creative input on the brand’s advertising.
In 2017, Kobe wrote, directed and narrated the brand’s first-ever TV ad. He said, “I enjoy storytelling and have always taken an active role in my campaigns throughout my career. As an investor in BodyArmor, this is additional value I bring to the brand. I’m able to provide a creative voice — as an athlete – to give the product an authentic and credible voice.”
A few months ago, UFC president Dana White, Kobe received an investment payout from the company just days before his death. He told TMZ, “Kobe got a distribution from the UFC the Wednesday before the incident and he was so pumped up and excited and he said what everybody always says, 'I wish I had invested more!'"
The amount of the payout is unknown, but White emphasized that 2019 was the company’s “best year.”
White also pointed out that Kobe started investing in UFC after investing in BodyArmor, the official energy drink of the UFC.
Months before his death, Kobe opened up about his decision in invest. He told USA Today, “I understand the importance of building value and being smart with your finances.”
Three years before his NBA retirement, Kobe and entrepreneur Jeff Stibel joined forces to create Bryant Stibel & Co. Over the past few years, the company has invested in more than 28 other companies, including Dell, Alibaba, and National Vision.
In other news, Vanessa just shared a first look at his upcoming novel “Geese Are Never Swans,” which focuses on a swimmer aiming to make the Olympics.
Vanessa wrote on Instagram, “This story perfectly highlights the healing nature that lies within sports.”
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“Whether goose or swan, I have wings and I’ll fly.” 🕊 🤍 🤍🕊Introducing Geese Are Never Swans, one of my favorite novels created by my husband @kobebryant. Readers will meet his newest character Gus Bennett, an aspiring Olympic swimmer facing tough issues that he must overcome in order to win in the pool. This story perfectly highlights the healing nature that lies within sports. It’s out July 21st, but you can pre-order yours now: https://granity.me/geese #GranityStudios #GeeseAreNeverSwans