Kobe Bryant Is The Typical Kind Of Investor By Ayo Akinfe


Kobe Bryant is the typical kind of investor we should have been attracting to Nigeria were we serious about foreign direct investment

(1) May this poor man’s soul rest in peace. Kobe was a legend both on and off the court. Unlike your typical vane black sportsman, he spent his fortune very wisely and were Nigeria a serious nation, this is the kind of enterpruener that we should have attracted to invest in our economy

(2) Kobe diversified his career by breaking into the investment world even before leaving the NBA. In 2013, he co-founded venture capital firm Bryant Stibel along with Web.com founder Jeff Stibel. It now has more than $2bn in assets with investments in dozens of technology, media and data companies

(3) Kobe is valued at about $500m. Among other things, he made millions of dollars on his investment in sports drink Body Armor, which in 2018 boosted its valuation by selling a stake to Coca Cola

(4) Skincare brand Art of Sport founders Brian Lee and Matthias Metternich said: “When Kobe puts his stamp of approval on something and really gets behind you as a partner, the world of sports and everyone across the spectrum of the sports industry takes note and you’re suddenly validated in a way that most startups just don’t experience until much further on.”

(5) In 2016, Kobe founded Granity Studios, a media company that focuses on creative storytelling around sports. Through this company, he wrote and narrated a short film called “Dear Basketball,” which won the Academy Award for best animated short film in 2018. Granity has also released a set of books for young adults, along with Bryant’s autobiography, “The Mamba Mentality: How I Play.”

(6) In 2017, Nike partnered with Kobe and the Los Angeles Boys and Girls Club to launch a youth basketball league called the Mamba League to give hundreds of kids free access to the sport. He later created the Mamba Sports Academy to provide broader athletic and lifestyle training to competitors at all levels in a number of sports

(7) Kobe has also been involved in the NBA’s efforts to expand its audience beyond the US, particularly in China. In 2015, he worked with Alibaba Group to release the documentary “Kobe Bryant’s Muse” through its Tmall Magic Box TV in China

(8) Kobe also had endorsement deals with a number of other brands throughout his career, including McDonald’s, Sprite, Nintendo and Turkish Airlines. When we planned to launch Nigeria Air for instance, why did we not seek his endorsement? That might just have attracted the kind of private investors we needed to get the project off the ground

(9) Imagine if Nigeria privatises the NNPC and gets its operating as a private concern, competing with the likes of Shell, Total, Agip, Texaco, Mobil, etc. If it was floated on say the New York, London and Shanghai stock exchanges, Kobe is the kind of star you would want to endorse it

(10) You know, Nigeria has a way of scaring investors away. Richard Branson had big plans for Nigeria but alas, we scared him off by constantly asking for bribes. President Buhari was recently in London for an investment summit. Did he go and see Branson to apologise? When we are serious about attracting foreign direct investment, we will not joke with the likes of Kobe Bryant and Richard Branson

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