“I have always had ideas and always had a vision of where I wanted to go going back to 2000, but they are just ideas,” Bryant said. “Now, once the Achilles injury took place, I’m sitting at home for months not moving, a couple things set in. One is that there is only so many Modern Family episodes a person can watch. And then two, what do I do now?”
With that thought in mind, Bryant began crafting his companies vision and mission statement.
“We want to own and help grow brands and ideas that challenge and redefine the sports industry while inspiring,” Bryant said. “If it doesn’t have the limbs of the sports industry, which I understand extremely well, then I probably won’t touch it.”
Bryant cites his inspiration from NBA legends including Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson (surprise surprise!) who both have found lucrative opportunities after retiring from the NBA. However, Bryant stresses that he is going to be much more hands-on in his ventures.
“I want to be a part of something and if you want to be a true entrepreneur you have to put skin in the game,” Bryant said. “At this stage in my life, I don’t have the interest in taking on any more endorsements.”
Kobe, Inc. has already made its first investment with upstart sports drink BODYARMOR, a coconut water beverage that offers more potassium to an athlete’s body with less sodium than its competitors.
“From a standpoint of innovation, if you look at the category, the category itself has been a dormant one for years,” Bryant said. “They have become accustom to drinking one product because that’s been the only one available to them. There hasn’t been a product that has come to them and said, ‘There’s another way to upgrade your sports drink.’”
Although he doesn’t have much experience in entrepreneurship, Bryant has been studying rigorously. Over the past year, he’s met with executives at Twitter and Instagram. He’s even been crashing business classes at college and universities. Earlier this year, when the Lakers were on the East Coast, Bryant stopped by a marketing class at Boston College.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 17, 2014
“The one thing that is the common denominator among them all are that they all have the ability to understand people, to communicate properly, to have vision, to have guts and to have this kind of patient persistence in the process.”
Apart from recovering for next season, Bryant says he’ll slowly be allocating more time to his business life. He stresses how important it is to “work with brands you truly believe in and to find entrepreneurs that you can get along with.”
In regards to comparing sports to entrepreneurship, Bryant expects it to be no different than his experiences in the NBA.
“I can only imagine It’s basically the same stressful, miserable, joyful, blessed journey.”