Kobe Bryant earned a lot of money through his career, and unfortunately, after his passing, there were a lot of financial questions Vanessa Bryant had to take care of.
Kobe’s legacy was built up by everything he achieved in his career, his five rings, Finals MVPs, scoring titles, and more, but a major part of his also the fact that he spent his entire career with the Lakers.
In an era defined by player autonomy and the right to take your brand anywhere, Kobe chose to stay put. He stayed put even when the Lakers were rebuilding and had no superstars to surround him with when he easily could have been playing along a superstar or two had he wanted.
He made the Lakers must see TV even when they weren’t. 20 seasons. That’s how long Kobe was a Laker. Countless memories were made. Everything from pure elation to absolute heartbreak included. That’s who Kobe was for LA.
Kobe Bryant goes to work during Game 1 of the 2009 NBA Finals.
Mamba finished with 40 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals in the Lakers victory.
— Kobe Highlights & Motivation (@kobehighlight) June 2, 2022
His death was tragic in every sense of the word. It hurt the NBA community, and it also placed a lot of strain on his family. Kobe had made a lot of decisions with his money, and it wasn’t clear what kind of impact they might have had after his untimely passing.
Kobe Bryant put pressure on Vanessa Bryant and his family with his money
Kobe’s stellar play netted him a lot of money. Through his contracts with the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant earned roughly $323 million and with sponsors, he had made around $500 million by the time his career was over.
Including endorsements Kobe should be ~$500-550 million in career earnings.
— John Wilson (@JohnWilson) November 26, 2013
The problem comes in with how Kobe kept his money and how up to date his papers were. Assuming there was no will, Vanessa Bryant would still inherit effectively all of his money after their marriage in 2001 (minus his 2001 rookie deal worth $10 million).
However, if Kobe hadn’t changed his beneficiaries on his papers from his parents to his wife, there’s a chance that the money wouldn’t have ended up with Vanessa.
The chances of that are unlikely, but it’s still one possibility to consider. A lot of Kobe’s money was also tied up in his Bryant Stibel partnership.
At the time, the investment was perfect as Kobe could lend a helping hand at his will, make pitches and placements, and use his star power and reputation to take companies to the next level.
The fund doubled with Kobe, but with his passing, his expertise and knowledge are gone, and there are chances the fund could fizzle out which would be horrible for Vanessa Bryant and Kobe’s family.
Kobe’s investments were made with similar expertise and knowledge of companies. Did he cash out on all his investments, and if he didn’t what was his plan? Was he going to hold on and play the long game, or was he going to sell immediately? These are the questions Vanessa has had to answer without the same information that Kobe had.
There’s also the question of Kobe setting up college trust funds for his children and whatever else Kobe had in paper that he never brought out of it.