Kobe Bryant was an American professional basketball player, producer, philanthropist and entrepreneur with a net worth of $600 million. He tragically died on January 26, 2020, in an unfortunate helicopter crash. He was an 18X NBA All-Star, a 5X NBA Champion and 2X NBA Finals MVP. However, not many know how he was a real-life hero to many people outside the court. Two years after the star passed away, we look back at how he used his money to do good.
|Net worth||$600 Million|
|Date of birth||August 23, 1978|
|Height||6 feet 5 inches|
|Profession||Professional basketball player|
Slam dunking by age 13
Kobe Bryant was born on August 23, 1978, in Philadelphia. His father, Joe Bryant, was a former player for the Philadelphia 76ers. When Kobe was six, his father retired from the NBA and the family moved to Italy. As a pre-teen, Kobe would return to the US during his summers to participate in basketball summer leagues. When Joe retired from playing, the family moved back to Philadelphia where Kobe attended Lower Merion High School.
He excelled at basketball in high school where he led his team to their first state championship. He was named Gatorade’s Men’s National Basketball player of the year and the USA Today’s All USA first-team player. When Kobe’s SAT score was high enough to get him into colleges with a scholarship, he opted to go straight to the pros. Kobe Bryant was the youngest player to be drafted into NBA history!
Kobe Bryant net worth in the NBA
Bryant was initially signed by the Hornets but was instantly traded to the Lakers in a prearranged deal. All this when he was just 17. Because he was a minor, his parents had to cosign his contract. His first NBA contract was for three years and amounted to a $3.5 million deal.
At age 18, Bryant was the youngest starter in NBA history. In his third year with the Lakers, he hit his stride. He started every game and was compared to the likes of Michael Jordan. His third year brought him a $70 million 6-year contract extension.
Where Kobe Bryant sourced his net worth from
Kobe Bryant was one of the highest-paid athletes in sports even during retirement. He earned millions from his salary and endorsements during his lifetime and he made wise business investments with the same. His NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers earned him just over $328 million in salary alone.
He signed a three-year NBA contract extension for $90 million in 2010. Three years later, he signed a two-year $48.5 million extension. In his final year in the NBA, Bryant earned $25 million in salary.
His endorsements brought him $350 million during his lifetime. His total career earnings were estimated to be $680 million adding to Bryant’s $600 million net worth. A few of his biggest endorsements include Nike, Sprite, McDonald’s, Turkish Airlines, Lenovo, Hublot and Panini. His popularity in China enabled him to sign lucrative Chinese endorsement deals with Alibaba and Sina.com.
In 2016, Bryant and business partner Jeff Stibel launched a VC called Byrant-Stibel with $100 million in funding. They launched the firm to invest in technology, media and data companies. The firm invested in dozens of companies including sports media websites.
Life outside the court
In 1999, Bryant married 17-year-old Vanessa Laine. They welcomed their first child, Natalia Diamante Bryant in 2003 and their second child, Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, in 2006. They eventually had four children, all daughters.
Their other daughters are Bianka and Capri. In 2011, Vanessa Bryant filed for divorce. The couple had no prenup and Vanessa’s divorce settlement could have cost him $100-150 million. They eventually reconciled.
In an absolutely shocking turn of events, Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died on January 26, 2020, in a helicopter crash along with eight other people.
Kobe Bryant put his net worth to good use
Bryant dedicated himself to making a difference off the court, too. Bryant used his net worth and every last ounce of his energy to do whatever he was doing. When he retired he showed his creative side, found new passions and founded many charities and causes that he fully supported. A few of the many are listed below:
Mamba and Mambacita Foundation
This organization was founded in honor of Bryant and Gianna with a mission to help young athletes and women in sports.
United Way of Los Angeles
Bryant was the honorary chair for this organization’s annual Home Walk, which aimed at addressing homelessness in Los Angeles County. Bryant recalls seeing people on the streets of Los Angeles when he would arrive for games at Staples Center. He then ensured that the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Foundation contributed to efforts to address the issue.
Bryant has granted over 200 wishes during his two decades with the Lakers. Kobe Bryant loved making wishes come true. The organization grants a wish to children who face life-threatening illnesses. Bryant once said “Basketball is something that will come and, eventually, go. The beauty in that is using that time to try to inspire others.”
My Friend’s Place
Youth homelessness or homelessness, in general, was a problem that Bryant and his wife Vanessa wanted to address through their support of My Friend’s Place. It is located in Hollywood that provides a place for homeless youth to drop in and find services — a resource that was close to Bryant’s heart.
Bryant was clearly, a man who loved the community and he has been hailed for many acts of kindness, and he leaves behind a legacy forever etched in people’s hearts. Let us raise a toast to one of the greatest athletes of his generation who had an immeasurable impact on the world of sports and the community of basketball. Black Mamba forever!
Want to read more about how his fellow basketball stars, including James LeBron, Chris Paul and Giannis Antetokounmpo, use their money to do good? Read our blog.