Kobe Bryant’s $6 million investment in the BodyArmor sports drink is now worth 30 times what he invested after Coca-Cola announced Tuesday that it had bought a minority stake in the drink brand, ESPN reported.
Marketed as a healthier alternative to Gatorade, BodyArmor is projected to reach $400 million in sales in 2018.
Retiring in 2016 as an NBA basketball player, Bryant was investing before he left the league.
He first invested in the BodyArmor brand in March 2014, and eventually got about 10 percent of the company for $6 million. Based on the valuation of the Coca-Cola deal, his stake is now worth approximately $200 million, according to ESPN.
Bryant’s potential gains from the Coca-Cola acquisition are huge. By comparison, LeBron 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 about $40 million. James made $30 million from a small stake in Beats by Dre when it sold to Apple in May 2014.
The Coca-Cola acquisition makes Bryant one of the top four investors in BodyArmor, after Mike Repole (co-founder of the brand), Coca-Cola and Keurig Dr Pepper.
And he’s not the only superstar athlete vested in the company. There could be as many as a dozen with stakes in BodyArmor, including James Harden (Houston Rockets), Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts), Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels), pro golfer Dustin Johnson and Skylar Diggins-Smith (Dallas Wings).
“Coca-Cola’s acquisition is the biggest story in the business of sports drinks since December 2000, when PepsiCo acquired Quaker Oats, which included Gatorade,” according to ESPN. “The deal puts BodyArmor in Coke’s powerful distribution network, on their delivery trucks throughout most of the U.S.”
Bryant is not only an investor but also wrote and co-directed four BodyArmor ads, The Grio reported.
Bryant earned $328 million on the court in his 20-year NBA career and a similar amount off the court during that time.
The same day he announced his investment in BodyArmor, he announced he had started a new company — Kobe Inc. Since then he has formed a $100-million joint venture investment firm with entrepreneur Jeff Stibel and started a production company, Granity Studios, which won an Oscar in 2018 for best animated short for his “Dear Basketball” film.
In 2015, Bryant partnered with e-commerce giant Alibaba to create a series of Kobe-branded products that will be sold via Alibaba’s retail platforms which are accessed by more than 350 million buyers in China, according to Variety.
“It’s safe to say that if the Lakers legend isn’t coming back to the court as Shaquille O’Neal hinted, he’s certainly coming up in the business world,” CBS Sports reported.
Written by Dana Sanchez