After retiring from basketball, Kobe Bryant is not worried about his new path as an entrepreneur and influence in the sport.
The five-time NBA champion, who retired from the Los Angeles Lakers in April, said he is confident that his signature sneaker line with Nike will endure because at its core, his line of footwear is based on performance — not personality.
“What we’ve done is try to build a business that’s based on innovation and performance instead of an individual,” Bryant said Thursday at the Variety and Sports Illustrated Sports and Entertainment Summit in Los Angeles.
“If it’s based on an individual and it retires, where does the brand go? I feel like we have built something that goes beyond the athlete. So far consumers seem to love our product from a performance perspective, so I don’t see it changing much.”
For his second act, Bryant is focused on growing Kobe Inc. — with plans to reach audiences and foster his brand through storytelling in a variety of media, he said.
“I’m obsessed with what I’m doing now — I don’t play basketball anymore,” he said of filling his time after retirement. “The important thing is finding out what you’re passionate about — for me it’s storytelling. It’s hard after doing something for so many years; you are defined by what you do, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You have to reinvent and evolve.”
Bryant’s 11th signature sneaker with Nike was released in January and featured Flyknit technology that included thermoplastic polyurethane yarn for superior strength, making it the first Nike shoe to utilize the new Flyknit textile.