As we wish Kobe Bryant a happy birthday today (Aug 23, US time), we take a look at what the Lakers legend has been up to since retiring earlier this year. Just yesterday, on the eve of his 38th year, Bryant and business partner Jeff Stibel announced plans for a US $100m venture capital tech fund. The duo have invested in 15 businesses since 2013.
It isn’t all that surprising that Bryant has been keeping busy, having been quoted in the past as saying, “Once you retire, you don’t have that source of income that’s coming in. Even if you save over a 15-year career, if your spending habits remain the same, eventually the well will run dry.”
Well known for his work ethic and self-discipline, Bryant now applies those qualities to his post-retirement interests, saying, “It’s the inner belief that a person has that he will endure no matter what the obstacle may be. It’s that persistence, the entrepreneur doing what he or she truly believes in and truly loves to do.”
Bryant’s move should serve as inspiring example to the countless professional athletes (or athlete-hopefuls) out there who, once removed from the spotlight, struggle with leading productive lives after retirement.
“That’s a very slippery slope,” said Bryant, back in April, following his spectacular 60-point retirement game against the Utah Jazz. “I have done my research with players, and it is kind of like, ‘Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.’ Then all of a sudden it is like, ‘Uh oh.’…I think the important thing is get into a routine to maintain discipline, to find a new routine. I have been in a certain routine my entire career.”
True to his word, Bryant has kept busy, whether it’s been overseeing his holding company Kobe Inc. or travelling the world to spread the gospel of basketball. On the physical side, Kobe still gets up bright and early to keep in shape, even finding time to work out with young NBA stars to hone their skills. And it isn’t even all work and no play, as Bryant finds time to out hang out with celebrity friends, as he did with Jackie Chan while on a trip to Beijing.
Bryant told CNBC, “(after retirement) The question needs to be, ‘What is my passion?’ Not, ‘Where can I create the most value or generate the most revenue?’ — but, ‘What is my next passion?’ When you find that next passion, everything else will make sense.”
Wise words from a man entering the latest stage of a truly remarkable life.
Happy birthday, Black Mamba.