6 of Kobe Bryant’s most unforgettable endorsements that paid him millions a year

Abu Mubarik July 13, 2023
Kobe Bryant. Photo credit: Wikimedia commons

Prior to his demise in a helicopter crash, Joseph Washington “Jellybeans” Bryant (Kobe Bryant) had a successful career as an NBA player.

The Black Mamba’s face became synonymous with the LA Lakers, where he won five Championship titles playing with the likes of Shaquille O’Neal and Steve Nash. His NBA journey started in 1996 when the Charlotte Hornets picked the 13th draft selection Bryant as a guard.

Then 17 years old, Bryant became the first-ever guard drafted out of high school. But behind the scenes of the draft, the LA Lakers had negotiated with the Hornets to pick Bryant so that the Los Angeles outfit would swap Vlade Divac for Bryant. Since he was underage, Bryant’s parents had to cosign with him at the Lakers. His rookie contract totaled $3.5 million.

In December of 2007, Bryant became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 20,000 points after scoring 39 on the night against the New York Knicks. Bryant was 29 years and 122 days. But over the course of the decade, the equally amazing LeBron James (28 years and 17 days) and Kevin Durant (29 years 103 days) would break Bryant’s record.

Bryant’s success was not only limited to the field. His larger-than-life status in the NBA saw him rake in several endorsement deals, which boosted his net worth. Below are six of his most notable endorsement deals.

1. Adidas

Prior to joining Nike, Bryant signed a multimillion-dollar contract with Adidas in 1996. He reportedly signed the deal before he was even drafted. By the year 2002, his relationship with Adidas came to an end. He reportedly paid eight million dollars to get out of his Adidas Contract after the summer of 2002. He was not to sign with any brand until 2003, the condition for the termination of the deal read.

In 2003, he signed a four-year, $40 million dollar deal with Nike at age 24.

2. Nike

Bryant first signed a deal with Nike in 2003 after leaving Adidas. It was one of the biggest basketball deals Nike had signed. The company produced multiple lines of Kobe shoes and gear. He signed an endorsement extension in April 2016.

Bryant’s estate decided to end its long-standing partnership with Nike, the widow of the Lakers legend Vanessa Bryant noted in 2021. The estate decided after growing frustrated with Nike limiting the availability of Kobe products during his retirement and after his death.

Vanessa Bryant told ESPN: “Kobe’s Nike contract expired on 4/13/21. Kobe and Nike have made some of the most beautiful basketball shoes of all time, worn and adored by fans and athletes in all sports across the globe. It seems fitting that more NBA players wear my husband’s product than any other signature shoe.” 

3. Call of Duty: Black Ops

Bryant was a game of fun. In 2010, he appeared in a commercial promoting the video game “Call of Duty: Black Ops.” he appeared in the middle of a war scene, shooting a gun with “Mamba” written on the side.

According to bleacherreport.com, the game became one of the biggest hits of the year, selling over 7 million copies worldwide within 24 hours of its release. Bryant was slammed by some critics for the commercial, saying he was endorsing gun violence.

4. Nintendo

In addition to Call of Duty: Black Ops, he also signed an endorsement deal with Nintendo. Nintendo released the game Kobe Bryant in NBA Courtside. The game was exclusive to the Nintendo 64 game console and was released in 1998 when Bryant was in the second season in the NBA. He became one of the youngest athletes ever to have a video game to his namesake.

5. Coca-Cola 

In 1998, Coca-Cola struck a partnership deal with Bryant. The global beverage giant signed the NBA star as an endorser for the soft drink, Sprite. He appeared in multiple TV adverts for Sprite. According to multiple reports, sales skyrocketed following the endorsement.

6. McDonald’s

Kobe Bryant signed a $10 million deal with McDonald’s in 2001. However, the three-year deal was not renewed following sexual allegation charges against the NBA star. “It would be inappropriate to comment or speculate at this time about any future sponsorship relationship,” a company spokesman said at the time.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: July 14, 2023

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