Kobe Bryant's impending retirement has led to a lot of questions about what one of the NBA's most notorious workaholics will do next. So far, Bryant has literally laughed at the idea of coaching and said he would only do television analysis if given 60% of the revenue for Inside the NBA. Bryant has in the past spoken about devoting his time to his company, Kobe Inc., but would he ever have interest in being involved with an NBA team?
"If I'm involved in basketball from a league perspective, it would be from an ownership perspective," Bryant told Baxter Holmes of ESPN after the Lakers' Friday night loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Bryant certainly is on track to be financially able to own part of a team. A Forbes report on Friday night estimated Bryant's career earnings at $680 million dollars, the most ever by a team athlete over the course of their playing career. According to Forbes, "the only athletes to earn more are in individual sports and include Tiger Woods, Michael Schumacher and Floyd Mayweather." The report also included this phenomenal anecdote that perfectly sums up Kobe's unparalleled self-confidence (emphasis mine):
Bryant knew early in his career he had the potential to make significant bank in the NBA. He was one of only five players to vote against the 1999 Collective Bargaining Agreement that capped individual player salaries. He voted no despite having only seven starts under his belt during his career to that point.
If Bryant pursued team ownership, he wouldn't be the first legendary Lakers guard to do so. In addition to his many other business interests, Magic Johnson owned a minority stake in the purple and gold after his retirement until selling it to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers. But according to Bryant, that is where the post-career similarities between the two end:
Will Kobe model post-NBA career after Magic's? "We don't have the same personality. I can't go around talking + smiling at people all day."— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) December 5, 2015
If the ownership route doesn't work out for Bryant, he might just play pickup basketball/ruin Mark Medina's life instead:
Kobe downplays heavy minutes: "What's long term?" He then jokes, "Equinox pick up games, dude, I'll post your ass up there"— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) December 5, 2015
I can imagine many Lakers fans would be willing to pay good money to watch Kobe post up, block, and trash talk over-matched reporters after his NBA days are over. Forget playing overseas, Kobe. Just grab a cellphone and broadcast those games via Tout.