The sudden, tragic death of NBA all-time great Kobe Bean Bryant in a helicopter crash rocked the sports world Sunday, but the ripples also were felt on Wall Street.
BRYANT: “I got tired of telling people I loved business as much as I did basketball because people would look at me like I had three heads. But I do.”
Bryant, 41, died with his 13-year-old daughter and protege, Gianna Maria, and seven others when the helicopter crashed amid foggy conditions into a hillside in Calabasas, California, Sunday morning while en route to a youth basketball game. There were no survivors.
All of the details have yet to come out about what exactly happened, but the helicopter reportedly was in a climbing left turn about 2,400 feet up before diving into the hillside at 184 miles per hour, descending at a rate of more than 4,000 feet per minute (45 mph), according to ESPN.
“I got tired of telling people I loved business as much as I did basketball because people would look at me like I had three heads. But I do,” Bryant told ESPN in 2017.
Bryant launched Bryant Stibel soon after retiring, a $100 million tech investing firm with venture capitalist Jeff Stibel.
“This is one of my passions,” Bryant told CNBC after he rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. “We are one gear, 100% laser-focused, and here we go.”
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) August 22, 2016
The pair joined forces and began investing in 2013, and their portfolio includes household names like Dell and Alibaba, as well as stakes in more than 20 early stage companies like The Players’ Tribune, a blog owned by MLB Hall of Famer Derek Jeter, LegalZoom, Cholula hot sauce, wedding site Minted, “Fortnite” video game developer Epic Games, skincare company Art of Sport, Jessica Alba’s The Honest Co., and location tracker Tile, according to Yahoo Finance.
Bryant also turned a $6 million investment in 2014 in sports drink company Body Armor into a $200 million windfall after Coca-Cola bought into the Gatorade and Powerade competitor.
In a Yahoo Finance story last year, former teammate Lamar Odom credited Bryant as the athlete he has taken the most business cues from, and NBA stars like LeBron James, Andre Iguodala and Steph Curry have followed in Bryant’s investing footsteps.
Bryant went to the NBA straight out of high school as the league’s youngest player ever drafted (No. 13) and became a five-time champion and a two-time Olympic gold medalist as a leader of Team USA. He is now fourth on the career scoring list after current Lakers star LeBron James passed him for third place on Saturday, less than 24 hours before Bryant’s sudden death.
Bryant, an 18-time all-star, also won two NBA Finals MVP trophies and the regular season MVP award in 2008. He also scored 81 points in a game, second only to Wilt Chamberlain’s record 100 points. In his final game, Bryant scored 60 points.
Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban immediately announced that his team will retire Bryant’s No. 24 jersey. During his career, Bryant wore jersey Nos. 24 and 8, and both have already been retired by the Lakers. Bryant is eligible to enter the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this year.
In 2018, Bryant won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film for “Dear Basketball,” a movie he created, wrote and produced based on a poem he wrote by the same name. He also launched Granity Studios, a multimedia company based on inspiring young people across TV and film. Granity is “a platform to create and share original stories to inspire today’s young athletes. There’s surprisingly little content that combines the passion of sports and the traditions of original storytelling,” Bryant said at the time.
Also in 2018, he launched the Mamba Sports Academy in Los Angeles, the city where his legacy looms large. The academy hosted Gianna Maria’s AAU team and the younger Bryant, known as GiGi, was a budding superstar player in her own right.
Kobe Bryant, the father of four daughters, was a huge supporter of women’s athletics, including the WNBA and U.S. women’s national soccer team.
Kobe always showed up for us. He was there before 2015. He continued to be there after 2019.
We’ll miss you and we’ll miss Gigi. Rest In Peace, friend. We’ll carry that Mamba Mentality forever. pic.twitter.com/SQQX4lss5W
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) January 26, 2020
Wall Street on the Death of Kobe Bryant
Former Microsoft CEO and current L.A. Clippers owner Steve Ballmer:
The Clippers mourn Kobe Bryant, an icon in this city and this sport, who inspired teammates and opponents with his drive and determination. Kobe left an indelible mark on the world. His family, friends, fans and the Laker organization are in our prayers. We will miss him.
— Steve Ballmer (@Steven_Ballmer) January 26, 2020
Apple CEO Tim Cook:
Devastated and heartbroken by the passing of Kobe Bryant. I admired his athletic prowess from afar and his humanity close up. He was an original. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and fans. RIP.
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) January 26, 2020
Dallas Mavericks owner, Shark Tank star and billionaire investor Mark Cuban:
Damn. RIP Mamba. May your memory be a blessing
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) January 26, 2020
Disney CEO Bob Iger:
— Robert Iger (@RobertIger) January 26, 2020
Charles Schwab & Co. Chief Investment Strategist Liz Ann Sonders:
What an incredibly somber day … just heartbreaking https://t.co/dqeYj5VjuN
— Liz Ann Sonders (@LizAnnSonders) January 26, 2020
Hubspot CEO Brian Halligan:
“I want people to remember me as a talented over-achiever”. Kobe Bryant. May he Rest In Peace.
— Brian Halligan (@bhalligan) January 27, 2020
LPL Financial Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick:
"Those times you stay up late and you work hard. Those times when you don't feel like working. You're too tired. You don't want to push yourself, but you do it anyway. That is actually the dream."
Kobe at his number retirement ceremony. #RIPKobe
— Ryan Detrick, CMT (@RyanDetrick) January 26, 2020