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Kobe Bryant's earnings continue to rise posthumously with endorsements and investments.
Nike plans to relaunch Kobe's shoe line, and he is back on the cover of 2K's NBA game.
An investment in the Body Armor sports drink brought his family an extra $400 million.
When Kobe Bryant retired in 2016, he was one of the highest-paid players in NBA history, bringing in more than $320 million in career earnings. However, that was just one source of his income. Bryant made hundreds of millions more in endorsements and savvy investments. Near the end of his playing career, he was pulling in $25-30 million a year in endorsements.
According to Forbes, Bryant had a net worth of approximately $600 million at the time of his death, which trailed only Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods among athletes. And three years after Bryant died in a helicopter crash, his endorsement earnings may be higher than ever.
Earlier this month, 2K Games announced that Bryant would be the cover athlete for the 25th-anniversary edition of their uber-popular NBA videogame franchise.
But the big money for Bryant's family is from another old business partner, Nike.
Before his death, Bryant was planning to leave Nike when his contract expired in 2021 and start a new, independent line of "Mamba" shoes — a name taken from his "Black Mamba" nickname. After his death, Kobe's wife, Vanessa Bryant, let the deal expire. However, the two sides are back together: Nike recently announced a relaunch of Bryant's signature shoes with "major plans" to grow the brand.
We don't know the details of Nike's deal with Kobe's estate. However, considering Kobe's shoes are still immensely popular among players across the NBA, WNBA, and college ranks, as well with sneaker collectors (some Kobe models now selling for thousands of dollars), it is probably safe to assume it is worth a lot more than the $10 million per year Nike was paying Kobe during his career.
And none of this includes the roughly $400 million payday Bryant's family received when Coca-Cola completed their purchase of Body Armor. Kobe made a $6 million investment in the sports drink brand in 2013, and Coke eventually paid $5.6 billion for the company in 2021.
While Vanessa has guarded Kobe's legacy carefully, he has remained tremendously popular, and his selling power will likely continue to grow.
Read the original article on Insider