Ideas for 'Kobe Inc.' After Bryant Retires from LA Lakers
Last month Bryant announced his first venture in the corporate world, investing in the sports drink BodyArmor.
This new phase of Bryant's career has been in the works for some time.
The Lakers guard has spoken to many business leaders over the years and has dropped in on business classes at various universities around the nation.
"I’ve done nothing but sit around and call and learn and listen," Bryant said.
So what other products and ideas should Bryant invest in? Well, we've got a few ideas.
He's already in the beverage industry. Might as well branch out to energy drinks as well.
Bryant is famous for being rested and ready to go despite sleeping just four hours a night.
That's the perfect selling point for an energy drink—stay up and alert like Kobe with one can of "Venom" (you can thank me later for supplying the name, Kobe).
Plus, he's already in business with a proven energy drink developer.
Lance Collins—one of BodyArmor's co-founders—sold NOS Energy Drink (along with Fuze Beverage) to Coca-Cola in 2007 for a cool $250 million.
This one is a slam dunk.
This one is almost too obvious.
In fact, Bryant already teased it in a video on his Instagram account.
There are so many directions in which to take this idea.
He can just package it and sell it at supermarkets or partner up with a nice steakhouse to include it as a special menu item.
My suggestion would be to open up a hip, semi-slow food burger joint—think In-N-Out meets CUT—in L.A. that serves up Kobe beef patties with the trademark Mamba logo on it (and also grilled into the bun). Call it "Kobe's Beef."
But he can exponentially increase that revenue by tapping into the soccer cleat market.
The ties are apparent. Bryant is an avid soccer fan. He's also the NBA's most globally popular superstar. And soccer is the most globally popular sport.
Besides, Kobe's sneakers already draw inspiration from soccer cleats.
Just add some spikes to those bad boys and get Cristiano Ronaldo to rock them for one exhibition match. They'll be flying off the shelves all over the world.
There's a precedent for basketball shoes crossing over into other sports. Watch the Masters this weekend and you may catch PGA Tour pro Keegan Bradley teeing off in these Jordan 11-inspired golf shoes.
Fine Dining Italian Restaurant
Kobe Inc.'s goal may be to redefine the sports industry but after that, Bryant can tackle the food service industry.
Lots of former athletes open up restaurants. Bryant can make it his goal to upgrade that experience.
A classy, upscale Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills would do nicely.
Bryant spent his formative years in Italy, so he has his bona fides established for knowing authentic Italian cuisine.
With so many competitive cooking shows on TV, it will be easy for Bryant to find a young, talented, up-and-coming chef to lead the operation. And he can put the finishing touches on the dining experience himself.
The restaurant would, of course, be named Vino's, but the real question would be whether Mike D'Antoni would be allowed in or not.
As Forbes reported in the story, Bryant wants to target media companies to invest in as well.
His teammate, Steve Nash, has a passion for filmmaking and has already done some pretty good work in that arena. His Grantland.com web series, detailing his current struggle to make a dignified end of his career, has been well received.
As both of their basketball careers draw to a close, Bryant and Nash could team up again off the court to make great sports documentaries or any other projects that suit their fancy. (Personally, I hope their first project is an inside look at the life of Nick Young.)
Bryant is already based in Hollywood. All he needs to do is glance around the Staples Center to find people from whom to take advice. It would be interesting to see him branch out into something as far away from basketball as the motion picture industry.