By Hector Rojas, Fall 2016 Student Intern
Earlier this year, Kobe Bryant played the final game of his NBA career. Throughout his illustrious twenty-year career, the 18-time All-Star spoiled sports fans from all around the world with his game ending shots as the final buzzer rang. While he may not be shooting buzzer beaters anymore, these days, Bryant is ringing different bells. On Monday, August 22, the NBA superstar shifted gears and rang the New York Stock Exchange bell unveiling his Wall Street secret to the public.
Bryant unveiled his $100 million venture-capital fund, a Los Angeles based company called Bryant Stibel. The company will invest in technology, media and data companies. The fund was founded in 2013 with entrepreneur, Jeff Stibel, who is his partner. Although the two are equal partners, their roles in the company differ. Stibel will bring entrepreneurial experience to the company while Bryant, will contribute with his creativity, marketing, and branding skills. The company has already invested in fifteen companies, including New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter’s media company The Player’s Tribune.
Bryant is not the first professional retired athlete to pursue business ventures after stepping away from the game. In 2006, Boston Red Sox pitcher, Curt Schilling, launched a video game company as he approached retirement. Although the company saw some brief success with the launch of their first—and only—video game, the company declared bankruptcy in 2012. Other athletes who have ventured into the business world include former Los Angeles Laker superstar Shaquille O’Neal and current NBA star Carmelo Anthony, both investing in technology startup companies.
Bryant says will bring the same work ethic, passion, and determination he brought on the basketball court to Wall Street to ensure success according to The Wall Street Journal. Whether Bryant’s basketball success will parlay into investment success remains to be seen. Potential investors should be aware, however, about the risks of investing in any fund, no matter who the sponsor is. Celebrity endorsements of investments don’t always end well, as we’ve mentioned on this blog before.
For additional information on Bryant’s venture-capital fund, click here.