Updated: Apr 3, 2020
We are a few weeks removed from the last game in the Kobe Bean Bryant story on the hardwood. Now that Kobe is retired what possible options does he have left to keep the competitive nature burning? Let’s look at the best possible options and the chances of him doing each one.
Bryant is often quoted as one of the best basketball minds in the game. With his insight and creativity, he has the experience and fortitude to be a coach for any level. The question is would Bryant like to collect rings for his other hand from a head coach’s position? I am voting against this option because of Kobe’s competitive nature. Yes, Bryant loves to win. However. I don’t envision him having the patience to deal with 12-15 players with their incompetence on the court for an entire season. Let alone, multiple seasons of it. He also stated in the past he has the passion to play the game, not coach the game. This reaffirms Bryant and coaching will not go together anytime soon.
While Bryant has said no to coaching, he has given an open door to possible owning a team. He was linked to becoming a part owner to an Italian soccer team (Bologna FC 1909) back in 2014. Kobe also feels if he wants to stay close to the game of basketball, it would probably be in an ownership capacity. I feel this makes the ownership route a 50/50 chance. Maybe even less to be honest.
During Bryant’s rehab period after his achilles tear, he announced Kobe, Inc. I have to say when it comes to Bryant and his moves, I am always impressed. The concept is to invest in companies and assist in building their profile. His first investment is with Body Armor which is an alternative to Gatorade. Bryant is building his portfolio as well as using his connections because of his superstar standing to elevate his projects. He will still have cashflow based on endorsements from a range of corporations so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Bryant more now that he has free time.
Bryant has also started Kobe Studios which is a sub-division of Kobe Inc. From Michael Pina’s article earlier this year, we see Bryant has a dedication to storytelling intertwined with the sports world. To use a quote from Bryant in a conversation with The Orange County Register:
“Some stories will be created. Some stories will be fantasy in nature, others reality-based,” he said. “But we will look for content that inspires a generation of people.”
Bryant has thought about his post career days since he was 21 which displays the foresight he has for his personal objectives. It is also a good thing to have Walt Disney, J.K. Rowling, and Steve Jobs as muses for his companies direction in the framework of longevity. Those three individuals have created lasting brands based on thinking way outside of the box. For Kobe to decide these individuals were who he wanted as the template, we can only expect big things from Kobe Studios.
Since Bryant started Kobe Inc and Kobe Studios, I know he is going to center his future moves around these two entities. Clearly, this is the only 100% we will get in this article. Or is it?
It has been reported that Bryant will tutor Kawhi Leonard and I let out a weak yelp on the future of the NBA. This is important because Kawhi has progressed at a phenomenal rate under Popovich. Now we are going to have Bryant who is one of the most prolific players in the entire NBA lifespan to tutor him? Amazing. This leads to the label of Sage Kobe aka Black Mamba Yoda. Hakeem Olajuwon has made money from short training sessions with players in the league. I can see Bryant in a similar mold working with players to pass on his techniques. Depending on how his training regimen with Kawhi goes, we can either get Bryant working with some players every summer or never hearing Kobe training anyone again.
I doubt it will be the latter to be frank. I will say this has a passing grade of a chance to be a consistent thing for years to come.
A Combination of the others
I know Kobe loves a challenge. It has become his MO for years since he labeled a started in the NBA. I can see him attempting to manage all (or at least most) of these previous stated options. To count against Bryant is a thing he craves. It fuels him and I can see nothing but success for the next thing(s) he dedicates his time too.
I have to say no matter what choice Kobe chooses, I expect his post career life to be just as successful as his playing career. I used to root against Bryant in my younger years and I think I learned my lesson on counting him out. He will always find a way.