Kobe Bryant is apparently as smart in investing as he was on the court.
The retired NBA superstar just turned a $6 million investment in a sports drink company into nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in just a little over three years. Earlier this week, Coca-Cola announced that it had purchased a minority stake in the company BodyArmor, which makes a sports drink. The deal will allow BodyArmor to tap into Coca-Cola’s massive distribution network and is expected to lead a gigantic growth in sales.
As ESPN reported, Kobe had gotten in early on the company, which bills itself as a healthier alternative to Gatorade. At the time Kobe made his $6 million investment, the company had about $10 million in annual revenue — this year, it is projected to top $400 million in sales. After the acquisition by Coca-Cola this week, Kobe’s stake in BodyArmor is estimated to be worth more than $200 million, the report noted.
There were a number of other athletes with a stake in BodyArmor, the report noted, including LeBron James and Dustin Johnson. As ESPN noted, LeBron has made some other shrewd investments.
“LeBron James made $30 million from a small stake in Beats by Dre when it sold to Apple in May 2014,” ESPN noted. “James and his business partner Maverick Carter put less than $1 million into fast-casual pizza chain Blaze in 2012. That investment is now worth approximately $40 million.”
Kobe Bryant has made a number of investments and even launched his own $100 million investment firm in 2016. As the Wall Street Journal reported, Kobe teamed up with investor Jeff Stibel on the fund, which is based in Los Angeles. Bryant and Stibel had been working together for some time, investing in 15 companies in the three years leading up to the start of their investment firm.
The investment company is focused on tech, media, and data companies and was expected to be active for a few years, Tech Crunch noted.
As Stibel noted, they were trying to separate Kobe the NBA legend from Kobe the investor.
“We don’t want to be in the business of investing in companies so someone can use Kobe as an endorser. That’s not interesting. The point is to add real value,” Stibel said.
As Tech Crunch noted, Kobe Bryant is not the only NBA star to found an investment firm. Former teammate Shaquille O’Neal has also started an investment company, as have Steph Curry and Carmelo Anthony.