Kobe Bryant was one of the most celebrated former National Basketball Association (NBA) players. Known by fans as Kobe, the player had an array of achievements, records and outright wow moments under his belt. His 81-point game against the Toronto Raptors in 2006 comes to mind as one of his career highlights. The player earned quite a fortune in salaries and endorsements throughout his 20-season career with the Los Angeles Lakers. As one would expect, Kobe Bryant net worth is up there among other basketball elites.
Kobe was born on 23rd August 1978 to Joe, a former basketball player, and Pam Bryant. The NBA star’s basketball career began in Lower Merion High school where he became the best high school basketball player in the country.
After high school, Kobe joined the Charlotte Hornets who then traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers. His rise to fame landed him many endorsement deals including Nike, Nutella, Turkish Airlines, Mercedes-Benz and Sony, among others.
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How much is Kobe Bryant worth?
The former NBA player accumulated wealth from his career salary over the years as well as numerous endorsement deals. Kobe Bryant net worth is currently estimated at $770 million. This makes Kobe Bryant one of the wealthiest athletes of all time. We take a look at how the basketball star made his fortunes beginning with his income over the 20-season Lakers career which cumulatively added up to around $328 million.
- 1996-1997 Season: $1,015,000
- 1997-1998 Season: $1,167,240
- 1998-1999 Season: $1,319,000
- 1999-2000 Season: $9,000,000
- 2000-2001 Season: $10,130,000
- 2001-2002 Season: $11,250,000
- 2002-2003 Season: $12,375,000
- 2003-2004 Season: $13,500,000
- 2004-2005 Season: $14,175,000
- 2005-2006 Season: $15,946,875
- 2006-2007 Season: $17,718,750
- 2007-2008 Season: $19,490,625
- 2008-2009 Season: $21,262,500
- 2009-2010 Season: $23,034,375
- 2010-2011 Season: $24,806,250
- 2011-2012 Season: $25,244,493
- 2012-2013 Season: $27,849,149
- 2013-2014 Season: $30,453,805
- 2014-2015 Season: $23,500,000
- 2015-2016 Season: $25,000,000
- Total career salary earnings: $328,238,062
Kobe Brant net worth and career earnings
By the end of his NBA career, Kobe Bryant had earned $680 million from his playing salary and brand endorsements. This took him above the legendary Michael Jordan in terms of career earnings. Bryant also held the record for the highest-paying career in team sports. Players only exceed his revenues in individual sports such as Michael Schumacher (F1 Racing), Tiger Woods (golf) and Floyd Mayweather (Boxing).
Kobe made his NBA debut when he signed a $3.5 million three-year contract with the Lakers. The team would go on to pay the star more than $300 million over the next seventeen years. Bryant was the NBA’s highest-paid player for six of his 20 career seasons and became only the second player in history to earn a salary exceeding $30 million in a single year (2013-2014). Michael Jordan first achieved this feat.
The player voted against the 1999 NBA collective bargaining agreement which capped player salaries. He did this despite having started a paltry seven times in his career. The move was probably attributable to the player’s confidence that he could make a fortune with the NBA. Off the court, Bryant earned more than $350 million from deals made with top brands in motoring, food and entertainment.
One of Bryant’s most prominent corporate endorsements was with Nike. In 2003, the sportswear company signed a $10 million-per-year deal with the Kobe. The company placed Bryant as Michael Jordan’s successor. The move became a success, particularly in Asian countries where Kobe’s style of play and the Lakers’ success pulled the crowds. What is perhaps most notable about the Nike endorsement was Kobe’s popularity in China. The player’s jersey was the NBA’s best-seller in China for a decade. Such was his allure among the Chinese that he became more popular in China than he was in the USA.
Bryant’s appeal in the Chinese market helped him land advertising deals with Sin.com, Mercedes-Benz and the e-commerce firm Alibaba. The latter had Bryant-branded merchandise distributed through their online platforms. Kobe contributed significantly to the growth of the Lakers team during his 20-year career. When he joined the team in 1996, the franchise was valued at $200 million. During his exit, the value had risen to $2.6 billion.
The athlete had at a time, endorsement deals with the following companies.
In 2001, Bryant signed a $10 million endorsement deal with McDonald’s. The deal included appearances by the NBA star on the food giant’s commercials. Most fans can recall the ad featuring Kobe munching on a juicy-looking Big N’ Tasty. The franchise dropped the NBA star from their corporate deal in 2003 when he was charged with sexual assault.
One lesser-known Kobe Bryant detail is his Adidas deal before signing for Nike. Adidas failed to take advantage of the player’s ascending profession. In 2003, Nike signed a ten-million-a-year agreement with the basketball superstar. The deal proved to be particularly fruitful for Nike who went on to sell more than $100 million worth of the star’s sneakers in the USA in 2015. It is also worth noting that Nike was among the corporate giants that did not drop the player after his sexual assault charges.
The Italian-based Hazelnut spread company made a six-figure deal with Kobe in 2001. The firm used the basketball player in promotions that included magazines, in-store and online media. Additionally, life-size stands were used in supermarkets in 2002 to help promote the company’s products. In 2003, the company ended the endorsement deal with Kobe citing his legal issues as the basis for the decision.
In 2010, the Lakers guard signed an international endorsement deal with Turkish Airlines. The carrier was focusing on its commitment towards flights from the USA. They viewed Bryant as the ultimate spokesperson on this agenda. The basketball star was involved in a promotional movie aired internationally in over 80 countries worldwide. The airline also included Bryant in print, digital and billboard advertisements.
In 2013, Kobe signed a personal endorsement with the Swiss watch brand, Hublot. This made him a brand ambassador for the company alongside other sports stars such as Diego Maradona, Usain Bolt and Dwayne Wade. The company developed the Hublot King Power Black Mamba, a signature watch for Kobe Bryant, with the Mamba part being Kobe’s nickname.
The watch featured a snake design at nine o’clock and the player’s jersey number (24) at 6 o’clock. As part of the deal, the Swiss watchmaker would support the player’s charity (Kobe and Vanessa Family Foundation) by donating a portion of the revenue generated from the King Power Black Mamba watch sales.
In 2003, Mercedes-Benz created a Chinese website to promote its vehicles in China. The website created promotional material that included commercials involving Kobe Bryant. The site marketed the car’s safety, convenience and safety thanks to its small size and environmental friendliness. The brand’s use of Kobe was quite successful. Later in 2011, Mercedes-Benz would go on to release a limited edition of the car dubbed the Black Mamba model.
Investments contributing to Kobe net worth
Kobe Bryant net worth 2020 is significantly composed of income generated from the player’s investments. The basketball star followed in the investment footsteps on legends such as Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. Here are the most significant investments the player has made over the years:
In 2014, Bryant made a 10% investment in a sports drink company BodyArmor. The company makes the BodyArmor drink, which it markets as a healthier investment to the popular Gatorade drink. The investment was worth $6 million. In 2018, beverage giant Coca-Cola purchased a minority share in BodyArmor. After the deal, Kobe’s investment was now worth $200 million. This represents more than 33 times the value of the original stake.
This is a venture capital (VC) fund started in 2013 by Kobe Bryant and Jeff Stibel. The fund provides strategic, operational and financial support to businesses focusing on media, data and technology. The two co-founders contributed $100 million to start the venture capital. To date, the VC fund has worked with companies such as Dell, House Canary, Legal Zoom, Scopely, RingDNA and The Players’ Tribune, amongst others.
Kobe Bryant house and other properties
The former NBA star had various properties under his name acquired throughout his career. Among his properties is a $21.3 million house in Orange County, California. The 15,760 square feet house has Mediterranean styling and was custom-built for the Bryant family. The player previously owned three other homes in the same area.
The player’s main house was the epitome of his lifestyle. It boasts of an inbuilt gym, sauna and steam room. Outside, there is a large outdoor swimming pool surrounded by terracotta and stone paving. The garden area exudes tropical sophistication with beautiful lines of palm trees.
Besides houses, the former player owned a drool-worthy collection of cars. The most notable ones include a Ferrari 360 Modena, Lamborghini Aventador, Lamborghini Murcielago and a red Ferrari 458 Italia.
Part of Kobe’s income went towards charitable causes. In 2007, the former player founded the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation (formerly known as the VIVO foundation). The foundation aims to provide young people with the experiences required to broaden their perspectives. The charity is dedicated to improving the lives of families and youth in need. It encourages young people to embrace sports as a means of staying active.
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This detailed breakdown of Kobe Bryant net worth is an inspiration to many young people out there. It is proof that through dedication and hard work, one can rise to the pinnacle of their field. Kobe’s legacy lives on even after his demise that took place on the 26th of January. The legend, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash on a steep hillside. Fans will miss the swoosh shots synonymous with Kobe’s games, may he rest in peace.