Kobe Bryant earned $323million in salary from the Lakers between 1996 and 2016
Kobe Bryant amassed a fortune of more than $800million before he died on Sunday in a tragic helicopter crash, after investing his astronomical NBA salaries into tech, media and sports drinks.
The 41-year-old sporting legend and his daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash along with seven other people including two of her young friends when their chopped smashed into the side of a hill in Calabasas, California, on Sunday morning.
The cause of the crash remains unknown.
The pilot had veered off in an opposite direction to where he was meant to be flying and because of the poor visibility and clouds, it’s possible he had become disoriented and did not know where he was flying.
As the NTSB continues to investigate the wreckage and police work to recover the bodies of those killed, Bryant is being universally mourned.
Throughout his stunning 20-year NBA career, he earned $320million through his salary alone. When he joined the Lakers in 1996-1997, his salary was $1million.
That figure climbed over the next 20 years, peaking at $30million in 2014-2015. When he retired in 2016, his salary was $25million.
Bryant is the second highest-earning NBA star in history. Kevin Garnett made $14million more than him, pocketing $334.3 Million, but he played 21 seasons over Bryant’s 20.
On top of his salary, Bryant made at least another $300million through endorsements, according to Forbes.
ENDORSEMENTS AND INVESTMENTS
McDonald’s: $10million endorsement contract in 2001. McDonald’s cut ties with him in 2003 when he was charged with sexual assault.
Adidas: Unconfirmed shoe deal in 2001. He paid $8million to get out of it in 2003.
Nike: $40million over four years
Nintendo: Unconfirmed amount for eponymous video game in 1999
Call of Duty Black Ops: Unconfirmed payment for a live action ad also featuring Jimmy Kimmell
BodyArmour: In 2014, Bryant bought a 10 percent stake in the sports drink through his company, Kobe Inc., for $6million.
It was his first investment through the company which he set up to carry him through his retirement.
In 2018, after he retired, Coca Cola bought the company for $2billion.
If he had cashed out – and it is unknown if he did – his shares would have been worth $200million
Among the many companies he was worked with were McDonald’s, Nintendo (which also made a video game after him), Nike and Adidas.
HIGHEST EARNING NBA STARS
1) Kevin Garnett
$334.3 million over 21 seasons
2) Kobe Bryant
$323 million over 20 seasons
3) Shaquille O’Neal
$286.3 million over 19 seasons
4) Lebron James
$269.5 million over 17 seasons and couting
5) Dirk Nowitzki
$251.6 million over 21 seasons
$93 million over 15 seasons but made more than $1billion through his brand.
In 2001, he signed a $10million endorsement deal with McDonald’s.
He even appeared in commercials for the fast food chain.
In 2003, McDonald’s cut ties with him after he was accused of rape.
Bryant was never convicted; the accuser- a woman who was working as a front desk clerk in a hotel – decided not to testify at his trial and prosecutors dropped the charges.
They settled a civil suit out of court the following year for an undisclosed amount.
In 2003, he signed a $40million, four-year contract with Nike.
He spent a reported $8million to get out of an earlier contract with Adidas.
It is unclear how much Adidas paid him when they signed a contract in 2001 to produce shoes but the Kobe, the first shoe that Adidas ever sold for $125, was an instant hit.
Lucrative endorsements and partnerships, like his contract with McDonald’s for $10million in 2001, earned him another $300million
Bryant in a Nike shoe commercial in 2005. He earned $40million over four years through his deal with Nike
On top of the $680million he made through endorsement deals and his salaries, Bryant founded two investment firms before his death.
Two years before he retired, he launched Kobe Inc., the first of two investment firms.
Through Kobe Inc, he invested in the sports drink BodyArmour, buying a 10 percent stake for $6million.
In 2014, Bryant bought a 10 percent stake in BodyArmor for $6million. Coca Cola bought the company in 2018 for $2billion
When Coca Cola bought the company for $2billion in 2018, it made his stake worth $200million.
Later, he founded Byrant-Stibel, a venture capitalist firm with his business partner, Jeff Stibel.
They have invested in websites and data companies including The Players Tribune, LegalZoom, Juicero and Scopely since then.
They also put money into Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce site.
It is unclear how Bryant planned to divide his wealth.
He is survived by his wife Vanessa and their three other daughters; Natalia, 17, Bianka, three, and baby Capri who is just seven-months-old.
A month before he died, Bryant had filed paperwork to trademark ‘Mambacita’ for his daughter Gianna.
She was a promising basketball player and her father had tried to trademark the name for her to put it on sports gear.
Bryant also wrote children’s books for his daughters. They are still being sold on Amazon
Bryant was also paid an undisclosed amount by Call of Duty Black Ops to appear in a controversial live action ad for their video game
He also wrote children’s books as a way, he said, to show his daughters stories with girls which ‘looked like them’ being represented as athletes.
The Wizenard Series, Legacy and the Queen, and Epoca: The Tree of Ecrof are the books he bought. They’re sold online for around $15-$20 each.
Before his death, Bryant said he wanted to be remembered not just for his basketball career but for his investments.
Bryant had been with his wife Vanessa for 20 years when he died. He had been with the Lakers for four years by the time they got married
He was determined to continue making money after his retirement and poured himself into teaching his daughter’s basketball team as a means of inspiring a new generation of female basketball players.
‘Playing basketball, the focus is always on winning — winning championships, winning championships, winning championships.
‘Now, championships come and go. Right? There’s going to be another team that wins an NBA Championship, another player that wins another MVP award.
‘But if you really want to create something that lasts generations, you have to help inspire the next generation,’ he told CNBC in a 2016 interview.
Bryant spent his money in a variety of ways.
He loved cars and, having grown up in Italy, had a particular affection for Ferrari’s.
He lived with his family in Newport Beach, California, in one of several properties he owns there.
The star with his wife and three daughters. Vanessa gave birth to their their fourth, Capri, in July