How Giorgio Armani Scared Kobe Bryant Into Becoming an Entrepreneur at 21

kobe bryant

Earlier this year, Kobe Bryant announced plans to become an entrepreneur after retirement. He’s already formed his own company, Kobe, Inc, established an office in Newport Beach, California, and made his first investment with sports drink BODYARMOR.

You might assume this is something Bryant thought up in recent years, however, the thought of pursuing entrepreneurship when he retires has been cooking ever since he was 21 years old. He revealed in a recent New York Times interview that it started with acclaimed fashion designer Giorgio Armani.

“I’ve been thinking about that since I was 21. I had a great conversation with Giorgio Armani back then. He told me he started his company at age 40. It was a real wake-up call for me. ‘What are you going to do?’ ”

Since then, apart from training hard in basketball, he’s done a number of things to prepare for life after the NBA including crashing college business classes, reading business books, and cold emailing successful people and asking them for advice. He told Bloomberg:

“You can start in the Nike Family, I cold call Mark Parker all the time. Jony Ive. Dan Wieden. Oprah Winfrey. Recently Arianna Huffington. The list just goes on and on and on and on. Hilary Swank … “

Jason Calacanis, a renowned angel investor and avid sports fanatic, told NextShark that he believes Kobe Bryant has everything it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.

“Kobe is a winner who doesn’t make excuses and has massive resiliency — that’s what entrepreneurship is all about … [he] has a bankroll, so if he takes his time and invests in the top deal every month on Angel List (say $50k) he would learn a LOT in just 2 years / 25 investments.”

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