Kobe Bryant aka America’s Black Mamba enjoyed a very successful basketball career with the Los Angeles Lakers that spanned two decades. Six years until his retirement at the end of the 2015/2016 season, Kobe banked the highest salary in the NBA. His bevvy of endorsement deals also made him one of the highest-paid players in the NBA. Kobe now banks from the business world via his Kobe Inc.
Kobe Bryant Bio / Age / Early Life
Kobe Bryant was born on August 23, 1978, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and his full name is Kobe Bean Bryant. He is the only son and the youngest of three children. His parents are Roman Catholics and he was raised as one. His father, Joe Bryant was also a basketball player in the NBA and his mother’s name is Pamela Cox Bryant. His sisters are Sharia Bryant (now Sharia Washington), who is the eldest sibling and the other is Shaya Bryant (now Shaya Bryant-Tabb). An amazing fact about Kobe Bryant is that he was named after a beef – the popular beef of Kobe which is a special kind of beef in Japan. His father’s nickname was ‘Jellybean’ and that was how his middle name, ‘Bean’ was derived. After retiring from the NBA, his father continued playing basketball at a lower league in Italy prompting the family to move from the United States to Italy when Kobe was just six years old. There, Kobe learned to speak Italian, picked interest in football (soccer) and supported Italian football giants, AC Milan. The family, however, moved back to the US in 1991 when his father retired from basketball.
His success began in high school when he led his team to win the state championship, something that had not happened in 53 years. Foregoing college, he was originally drafted by the Charlotte Hornets. He, however, opted to join the NBA and began to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. Together with Shaquille O’Neal, they made the Lakers win the NBA championships for 3 consecutive years: 2000-2002. Bryant also led the Lakers to other wins in 2009 and 2010.
NBA Career Earnings, Salary
Kobe began earning from the NBA from the age of 18. He first signed a 3-year contract deal for $3.5 million and later a 6-year extension worth $70 million. Subsequently, his salary grew to a career high of $25 million. Throughout his 20 years with the Lakers, Kobe earned $323 million in salary alone. His endorsement deals with the likes of Nike, Adidas, Mercedes-Benz, Coca-Cola and Smart Car and more earned him additional $357 million, bringing his total career earnings to $680 million, the most ever earned by a team player throughout their active career.
Kobe ventured into the business world in 2013. He joined forces with entrepreneur Jeff Stibel officially to establish a $100 million venture-capital fund called Bryant Stibel. The company invests in data companies, technology, and media. Some of the ventures they’ve both invested in include mobile game designer Scopely, sports media website The Players Tribune owned by retired MLB player Derek Jeter, Alibaba Group and legal-services company Legal Zoom.
His Kobe Inc. company invested around $6 million in buying over 10% stake of energy drink company, BodyArmor.
The number 24 guard also has a philanthropic imprint. He has partnered with After-School All-Stars, which is part of the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Foundation. Kobe also runs the Kobe Basketball Academy, an annual summer camp.
Kobe could have added musician to his CV and of course made more money but unfortunately, his first single released with his high school band CHEIZAW under Sony Entertainment failed to impress after it was performed at an NBA event.
Kobe Bryant Net Worth
Bryant is moving from endorsements to becoming a part of businesses. After buying part of BodyArmor, Bryant sits on the brand’s board of directors and focuses on marketing and branding the sports drink. Now retired, Kobe has all the time to focus on his investments and make savvy decisions. No doubt, he is en route to joining the likes of retired NBA tars like Shaq and Magic Johnson who have both built successful business empires since their retirement. His current net worth is estimated to be around $350 million.
Kobe Bryant Wife and Family
Kobe Bryant is married with three children – all girls. His wife, Vanessa Laine Bryant is a Latino. She and Kobe met while she was still in high school. They dated for six months before they were engaged. Due to Kobe Bryant’s popularity at the time, the media became a major distraction to her studies at Marina High School. She completed her high school studies through a private arrangement as the paparazzi would not let her be. They got married against the will of his parents at St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church, California just one year after being engaged. His family – parents and siblings – were obviously absent from his wedding. Vanessa is an American citizen by birth as she was born in California but her birth parents are Mexicans. Her last name ‘Laine’ was adopted from her stepdad, Stephen Laine. Their three beautiful daughters are:the eldest child Natalia Diamante Bryant who was born on 19 January 2003, Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, born on 1 May 2006 and the youngest girl, Bianka Bella Bryant born in 2016 (December 5).
Kobe Bryant Height, Weight and Body Stats
Kobe Bryant, during his playing time, played primarily as a shooting guard and so it is only reasonable that we take a look at his body measurement and statistics. In that regard, Kobe stands at 6 feet 6 inches in height (198 cm or 1.98 m). His weight is 96 kg (212 pounds). His body statistics are 43-35-15 inches – chest size 43″, waist size 35″ and biceps size 15″. His hair colour is black while his eye colour is dark brown. His shoe size 12 (US).