NBA athletes are paid highly to perform under the bright lights. There’s no question that a common NBA player can earn millions of dollars to play the sport we love. However, basketball is not forever. Because of this, modern NBA players have found a way to diversify their income streams in order to prepare for life after basketball and to prevent themselves from facing the same financial troubles that hounded previous NBA players in the past. For this piece, let’s take a look at 10 NBA players and their smartest business investments.
Andre Iguodala: Zoom
As the 2015 Finals MVP and four-time NBA champion, Andre Iguodala has carved out a decorated NBA career. But despite enjoying a lot of success on the NBA hardwood, his investments are also bearing fruits.
In 2018, Andre Iguodala reportedly invested in conferencing software Zoom. At that time, the firm was valued at a billion dollars. If Iggy poured in money during this time, his investment should now increase by at least 4,000%.
Chris Paul: Hyperice
Chris Paul has yet to win a ring in the NBA. However, he has already carved out a decorated and lucrative career in the league. Furthermore, the playmaker has displayed a high IQ on and off the court. Paul reportedly invested $48 million in massage fitness manufacturer, Hyperice. In 2020, the firm’s valuation soared up to $700 million.
Baron Davis: Vitaminwater
Baron Davis made waves and earned a lot of cash in the NBA after playing for 13 seasons. Although Davis faced injuries in his career that forced him to retire at 32, Davis’ retirement has been worry-free, at least in the financial aspect.
During his playing days, Davis made an investment in Vitaminwater. In 2017, the firm was acquired by Coca-Cola in a $4.1 billion transaction. Although Davis never publicly announced his earnings, it was reportedly a lucrative investment.
Carmelo Anthony: Mophie
Regarded as one of the best scorers of the game, Melo can be just as deadly as a businessman. His business portfolio includes Genies, Nobody’s Pizza, Overtime, and The Ainsworth. However, his most profitable thus far has been phone accessory firm Mophie.
In 2007, Carmelo provided a $500K angel check to the phone accessory company.
Fast forward 9 years…
Apple is carrying their products and Zagg aquires them for over $100M.
Melo cashed out up 800-1000%.
— Andrew Petcash (@AndrewPetcash) August 17, 2022
Kevin Durant: Postmates
Kevin Durant is money when it comes to shooting the basketball. The same can be said when he’s making business decisions. KD decided to place a million-dollar investment in food delivery service, Postmates. After it was acquired by Uber in 2020, KD pocketed $15 million from this investment.
NBA star Kevin Durant and his Thirty Five Ventures business are on the verge of a 15-fold return on a roughly $1 million investment in food-delivery service Postmates https://t.co/tDkLW9UrcP by @kbadenhausen pic.twitter.com/KOxMCEI8co
— Forbes (@Forbes) June 30, 2020
Kobe Bryant: BodyArmor
Equipped with a Mamba Mentality, Kobe Bryant won five NBA championships in his career. It’s safe to say that his mentality remained as sharp when it came to investing. Bryant invested six million dollars in BodyArmor, a sports drink company. In 2021, Coca-Cola acquired the firm for eight billion dollars. As a result, Bryant earned $400 million from the investment which his family will benefit from.
James Harden: BodyArmor
Like Kobe Bryant, James Harden also invested in BodyArmor. Based on reports, Harden started pouring in money in 2014, when the firm was valued at $60 million. Fast forward to 2021 when the Coca-Cola acquisition happened, it wasn’t only the Black Mamba who earned a lot of money for investing in the sports drink.
Harden invested in the sports drink in 2014 at a $60M valuation.
Other athlete investors included:
• Kobe Bryant
• Naomi Osaka
• Andrew Luck
• Rob Gronkowski
In 2021, Coca-Cola acquired @DrinkBODYARMOR in an $8B deal.
Harden reported more than a 4000% gain. pic.twitter.com/shUXDhB98Q
— Andrew Petcash (@AndrewPetcash) July 14, 2022
Shaquille O’Neal: Papa John’s
Although Shaq confessed to overspending during his first years in the NBA, he has managed to get rid of those habits and turned it around by becoming a savvy businessman. Based on reports, O’Neal invested $840,000 in nine Papa John’s restaurants. Thus, Shaq would become a 30% owner of those establishments. On top of the investment, O’Neal was also signed to an endorsement deal that will pay the legendary center $4.1 million over three years.
Junior Bridgeman: Wendy’s and Chili’s Restaurants
Junior Bridgeman pretty much played the Sixth Man in his NBA career. Although he never enjoyed the money earned by an NBA superstar, his investments after basketball allowed him to live like one. Bridgeman started investing in Wendy’s and Chili’s restaurants which allowed him to make a fortune.
After selling his restaurants in 2016 for a lucrative price, Bridgeman went into bottling for Coca-Cola. As we all know, Bridgeman would become one of the richest NBA players with a net worth of $600 million.
LeBron James: Beats Electronics
LeBron James already earns a lot from his NBA contracts and endorsements. In fact, he became the first active NBA player to reach billionaire status. Aside from earning from his NBA salary and endorsement deals, James also has investments in Fenway Sports Group and The SpringHill Company.
However, his smartest business investment was probably in Beats By Dre. In 2008, James was only asked to wear the headset publicly in exchange for a small stake. Fast forward to 2014, Beats Electronics was acquired by Apple and that stake has now allowed James to easily pocket $30 million in profit.