It’s the end of an era.
Kobe Bryant announced, via a poem in The Players’ Tribune, that he would be retiring after the 2015-2016 NBA season. The Los Angeles Lakers standout, who has played his entire career with the squad, won five NBA championships and is just one of four players in league history with 25,000 points, 6,000 rebounds and 6,000 assists in his career.
Of course, all of that success has helped Bryant build a small empire for himself, worth an estimated $360 million, on and off the court. Here’s everything you need to know about the 37-year-old’s net worth:
1. Bryant Signed a $48.5 Million Contract in 2013
Kobe Bryant made sure he’d be in Los Angeles for quite some time when he inked his name on a two-year contract extension worth a reported $48.5 million, according to ESPN.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak released a statement at the time of the signing, saying:
This is a very happy day for Lakers fans and for the Lakers organization. We’ve said all along that our priority and hope was to have Kobe finish his career as a Laker, and this should ensure that that happens. To play 20 years in the NBA, and to do so with the same team, is unprecedented, and quite an accomplishment. Most importantly, however, it assures us that one of the best players in the world will remain a Laker, bringing us excellent play and excitement for years to come.
The extension kept Bryant as the NBA highest-paid player and, per ESPN, received $23.5 million in the first year and $25 million in the second year. He made more than $30.4 million in the 2013 season despite suffering a torn Achilles tendon that April.
2. He Has a Multi-Million Dollar Deal With Nike
Bryant has been working with the athletic company Nike for more than a decade, signing one of his first contracts with the organization in 2003. At the time, the deal was worth $40 million over the next four years and, according to the Wall Street Journal, forced Bryant to spend $8 million to buy out of his former shoe contract with Adidas.
At the time, Bryant was a questionable endorsement in the athletic-wear world. In addition to buying out his own contract with Adidas, Bryant was reportedly close to signing a deal with Reebok before that fell through.
However, as Bryant’s on-court exploits attracted more and more attention (and won more rings), the Lakers standout found his selling power off the court growing as well. In fact, in 2014, Bryant was ranked third in signature shoe sales of NBA players, behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
3. Bryant Also Had Deals With Lenovo, Hublot & Panini
In addition to his work with Nike, Bryant has also inked his name on endorsement deals with a handful of other companies as well, ranging from printers to sports memorabilia.
Although his endorsement career has not been as impressive as some of his other basketball contemporaries, including Michael Jordan and LeBron James, the long-time standout did use his name-recognition power to ink several major label deals.
According to Forbes, Bryant has served as an endorser of top brands like Mercedes-Bens, McDonald’s, Sprite, Nintendo, Sony, Hublot and Lenovo. Overall, the deals have earned him more than $350 million off the court.
4. Bryant Has Been the NBA’s Highest Paid Player for the Past Six Seasons
After signing his first Lakers’ contract for $3.5 million over three years, Bryant has become one of the most expensive athletes in the entire world. In fact, he has been the league’s highest-paid player over the past six seasons and is the only player in NBA history to have a salary that topped $30 million in any given year, with the exception of Michael Jordan.
Overall, Bryant’s net worth is highest for any team athlete during their career. The only athletes to earn more are individual sports stars such as Tiger Woods and Floyd Mayweather.
Bryant’s on-court expenses have also helped jumpstart the overall worth of the entire Los Angles Lakers organization. The Lakers signed a 20-year TV deal with Time Warner in 2011 worth $4 billion, pushing yearly operating profits upwards of $100 million. When Bryant was first drafted the organization was worth around $200 million. Now, 20 years later, the Lakers are valued at $2.6 billion.
5. He Founded Kobe Inc. in 2013
Don’t worry about Bryant’s fortune once he walks away from basketball. The Lakers standout has a plan for his future and it all began in 2013 when he founded Kobe Inc.
Bryant talked with ESPN about the decision:
“I have always had ideas and always had a vision of where I wanted to go going back to 2000, but they are just ideas. Now, once the Achilles injury took place, I’m sitting at home for months not moving, a couple things set in. One is that there is only so many Modern Family episodes a person can watch. And then two, what do I do now? 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.
Kobe Inc.’s first investment was an upstart sports drink called BODYARMOR, which includes coconut water in and boasts of delivering potassium to an athlete’s body. The drink now boasts its own strong endorsement lineup, including Mike Trout, Buster Posey and Rob Gronkowski.
In 2015, Kobe Inc. and Alibaba Group announced a partnership to release Kobe Bryant’s Muse as well as plans to create a series of Kobe-branded products.
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