Prior to his tragic death in 2020, Los Angeles Lakers legend and NBA icon Kobe Bryant amassed an incredible net worth of $600 million, according to Forbes. That's over half a billion dollars. This does not come as a surprise, considering not only how outstanding he was on the basketball court, but also, how marketable he was as a player.
After an illustrious 20-year career, Bryant will certainly go down in history as one of the greatest players this sport has ever seen. He did it all during his tenure in the league, winning the NBA title five times, bagging the MVP trophy once, and getting no less than 18 All-Star nods, to name a few of his accolades. In fact, a statue of Bryant will be put up outside of the Lakers' Crypto.com Arena.
Kobe Bryant net worth: $600 million
During this time on the court, Bryant also amassed quite a fortune. Aside from being one of the basketball greats, he was also one of the highest-paid players in the history of the NBA. As a matter of fact, with total career earnings estimated at $323.3 million, at the time of his death, Kobe ranked as the second-highest NBA player of all time. He's now sixth on the all-time list with LeBron James topping the list.
That figure only represents a portion of his total earnings, as it does not include all of his income from the myriad of endorsement deals Kobe signed through the years. Not to mention his other investments outside basketball, which he has also turned into a major profit to help generate such an impressive net worth.
So how much is Kobe Bryant worth today? Well, according to Wealthy Gorilla, the 41-year-old currently has a net worth of $500 million. That's half a billion dollars. Honestly, though, this does not come as a surprise, considering not only how outstanding he was on the basketball court, but also, how marketable he was as a player.
Kobe Bryant's net worth via career earnings
8 Kobe Bryant buzzer-beaters on 8/24 🚨
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Kobe Bryant entered the league in 1996 as the third overall pick of that draft class. Coming straight out of Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia, Kobe would instantly hit the $1 million salary mark in his very first year in the league. However, he would sign his first big contract with the Lakers during the summer of 1999, putting pen to paper on a deal that would see him earning upwards of $10 million per season for the next few years. Bryant would never look back and would only increase his value from there on out.
It was towards the tail end of his career that he would earn the most. At one point, the Lakers paid Kobe $30.4 million for a single season. This was in the 2013-14 campaign — two years before he would finally call it a career in 2016.
All in all, Bryant earned over $320 million in 20 decorated years with the Lakers.
Kobe Bryant's endorsement deals
Having been one of the most popular NBA stars of his generation, brands were lining up to sign Kobe to several lucrative endorsement deals as an active player. According to Fortune, this includes industry giants such as Nutella, Sprite, Spalding, Call of Duty, Upper Deck, and McDonald's, to name a few. It's hard to pinpoint exactly how much Bryant amassed in endorsement deal earnings during his time as one of the most marketable celebrities in the world, but you can be sure that he built an absolute fortune out these deals.
Four years into his retirement, Bryant continued to be a highly sought after endorser prior to his passing. He had active deals with the likes of Turkish Airlines and Lenovo in 2020. However, the biggest payout has got to be his deal with Nike, which recently launched a retro release of Bryant's own personal shoe line. Fortune estimates that Kobe was still earning around $20 million per year in endorsement deals.
It is worth noting, though, that Bryant's sexual assault charges in 2003 had a significant adverse effect on his marketability. So much so, that at that point in time, brands like McDonald's and Ferrero decided to cancel their active deals with the Lakers superstar in order to distance themselves from him. Bryant was able to prove his innocence in court, but there are some who believe that he was never able to recover his peak market value following the scandal.
Kobe Bryant's investments
Finally, Kobe also had several investments outside basketball that continue to bring in the profits by the millions. Some of his most notable investments include his stake in the highly-popular sports website The Players' Tribune and energy drink BodyArmor.
Kobe initially purchased 10% of the energy drink company back in 2014 for $6 million. Four years later, beverage giant Coca-Cola would purchase a stake in the company, bringing up the brand's total net worth to $2 billion. This skyrocketed the value of Bryant's stake, which is now estimated at $200 million.
Bryant was very smart about where he put his money, estimated to be earning $20 million per year on his investments alone.
The Black Mamba will be remembered as a player who had one of the most tremendous impacts in the sport as a whole. On the other hand, he was also incredibly savvy when it came to the financial aspect of the game, and surely, the next generations of NBA superstars should learn a thing or two from how Kobe Bryant handled his wealth.