Why is Kobe Bryant a valuable brand for business?

Updated: 2016-04-14 11:06

By Zhao Siyuan(chinadaily.com.cn)

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As one of the most recognizable sportsmen in the world, Kobe Bryant has been undeniably a valuable asset for brands building a global reputation. Already topping the NBA payroll, the retiring star has been showered with endorsements deals. He jets globally for promotional tours, making 12 trips to China in the past 14 years. The retiring Lakers player will put an end to a dazzling 20-year career at a home game on Wednesday night. Bryant will walk off the court eventually, but this doesn't mean the Kobe brand will die down. Here is an analysis of Bryant's monetary success.

Why is Kobe Bryant a valuable brand for business?

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers holds up the Larry O'Brien trophy and the MVP trophy after the Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic 99-86 in Game Five of the 2009 NBA Finals at Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida, on June 14, 2009. [Photo/VCG]


The Lakers great was ranked 39th on the 2015 Celebrity 100 Earnings Forbes list. His salary contributed to less than half of his total earning at $49.5 million. Bryant had the highest salary in the league for the fifth straight year at $23.5 million during the 2014-2015 season, according to Forbes.

Why is Kobe Bryant a valuable brand for business?

NBA superstar Kobe Bryant greets a crowd of basketball fans at a Nike promotional event outside a sportswear store in Guangzhou city, South China's Guangdong province, Aug 2, 2015. [Photo/IC]

Endorsement deals

As the face of the NBA for more than a decade, the basketball veteran had been working with big-name brands such as Nike, Coca Cola, Mercedes Benz, and Hublot. In his total earnings in 2015 were $49.5 million ($23.5 million in salaries).

Why is Kobe Bryant a valuable brand for business?

Kobe Bryant, left, and Lionel Messi star in a Turkish Airlines commercial in this video clip.

Influence in other sports

A Turkish Airlines commercial stood out in 2013 for its stellar casting – Kobe Bryant and Lionel Messi. The duo, soccer's golden boy and one of basketball's most decorated legends, went viral on Youtube. The video featured the two superstars battling for the best selfie in destinations the airlines flies to.

Bryant has been an open as fan of Messi's team, Barcelona.

Why is Kobe Bryant a valuable brand for business?

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers plays defense against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, on March 16, 2007. [Photo/VCG]

Bryant jersey, a hot seller

The Lakers icon had the top selling NBA jersey four times throughout his career: 2002-03, 2006-07, 2008-09, 2009-2010. He originally wore No 8 until the 2006-07 season when he switched to 24, his first high school number. In the current 2015-16 season, the veteran's jersey sits in the top three.

Why is Kobe Bryant a valuable brand for business?

Kobe Bryant at the American Express Teamed Up With Kobe Bryant held at the Congra Room at LA Live in Los Angeles, CA, on March 29, 2016. [Photo/VCG] 

An entrepreneur?

In 2013, Bryant set up Kobe Inc., a sign that the basketball superstar had already planned his post-retirement future. The firm's first move was a $4.6 million investment in 2014 buying more than 10 percent of emerging sports drink BodyArmor, according to Forbes. The magazine's website also reported that Bryant will sit on BodyArmour's board of directors and focus on the marketing and branding of the product.

Another possible option is investing in a team. It is not a new practice for retired basketball players to pursue ownership of a franchise. A group that includes Lakers legend Magic Johnson bought the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012, while Bryant's former teammate Shaquille O'Neal purchased a stake in the Sacramento Kings in 2013.