It is no longer news that the famous American Basketball player, Kobe Bryant is dead, but there are lots of lessons Nigerian athletes and other business owners should learn from the life of the great man popularly called ‘Black Mamba.’
Aside from being a brand-builder, do you know he left a firm that worth more than $2 billion in assets, with investments in dozens of technology, media and data companies? This is a story that should attract his Nigerian counterparts, especially footballers that got broke shortly after a breakthrough.
Bryant and Gianna, his 13-year-old daughter, died on Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California at the age of 41.
Life outside B’ball Court
Before leaving the court in 2013, the famous athlete diversified his career by breaking into the investing, when he co-founded venture capital firm, Bryant Stibel, along with Jeff Stibel, Founder, Web.com.
With the birth of the company, ‘Black Mamba’ followed the model of a select number of other sports legends like Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson (1987) that invested in Starbucks and New York’s LaGuardia airport. The legends have been able to transform skills developed on the court into business success.
[READ MORE: Helpful ways to get your business to run without you)
While some Nigerian athletes, who started earlier and probably richer than Bryant spend fortunes on clubbing, luxury vehicles, mansions or lifestyles they can’t sustain during downtimes, Bryant’s firm has more than $2 billion in assets, with investments in dozens of technology, media and data companies. Don’t forget that he achieved all these before he clocked 41 years.
Today, Bryant Stibel claims at least 10 successful exits, including Dell and Alibaba. It also has investments in Fortnite creator Epic Games, digital payment company, Klarna, and household products firm, The Honest Company.
In an interview with CNBC in September 2019, he said, “You’ve got to have strong entrepreneurs, that’s really the key for us is looking at the people. Yes, it’s important to see those returns, right? But it’s also important to have a great opportunity, great relationships with our investors, and great opportunities with our entrepreneurs to help them grow and put them in situations where they can be successful.”
Also, Bryant made millions of dollars on his investment in sports drink Body Armor, which in 2018 boosted its valuation by selling a stake to Coca Cola. Bryant’s reputation as a star athlete and brand builder has been one of the portfolio’s keys to success.
Quotes of business owners, athletes about him before his demise
Skincare brand Art of Sport founders, Brian Lee and Matthias Metternich said, “When Kobe puts his stamp of approval on something and really gets behind you as a partner, the world of sports and everyone across the spectrum of the sports industry takes note and you’re suddenly validated in a way that most startups just don’t experience until much further on.
“I think Kobe’s somebody who’s been super fun to kind of pick his brain about some things,” Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps told the Wall Street Journal in August. “We’ve had the privilege and the opportunity in our sports to be successful and reach the pinnacle and we know what it takes to get to that top level. So now, it’s always the challenge for the athletes to find that drive outside of the sport.”
In 2016, Bryant founded Granity Studios, a media company that focuses on creative storytelling around sports.
Through this company, the basketball star wrote and narrated a short film called “Dear Basketball,” which won the Academy Award for best animated short film in 2018. Granity has also released a set of books for young adults, along with Bryant’s autobiography, “The Mamba Mentality: How I Play.”
Nike partnered with Bryant and the Los Angeles Boys and Girls Club to launch a youth basketball league, called the Mamba League, in 2017, to give hundreds of kids’ free access to the sport. Bryant later created the Mamba Sports Academy to provide broader athletic and lifestyle training to competitors at all levels in a number of sports.
Bryant was on his way to a Mamba Sports Academy game on Sunday when the helicopter crashed.
“We are devastated by today’s tragic news. We extend our deepest sympathies to those closest to Kobe, especially his family and friends,” Nike said in a statement on Sunday. “He was one of the greatest athletes of his generation and has had an immeasurable impact on the world of sport and the community of basketball. He was a beloved member of the Nike family. We will miss him greatly. Mamba forever.”
[READ ALSO: Why your savings are not growing)
Nike held a “Mamba Day” to honour the retirement of the celebrated but controversial athlete in 2016. Nike stuck with Bryant even after he was charged in late 2003 with the sexual assault of a 19-year-old woman. The case was dropped a year later after the woman declined to testify, and Bryant apologized for his behaviour though he always maintained the interaction was consensual and he had not broken the law.
Bryant has also been involved in the NBA’s efforts to expand its audience beyond the United States, particularly in China. In 2015, he worked with Alibaba Group to release the basketball star’s documentary “Kobe Bryant’s Muse” through its Tmall Magic Box TV in China.
The deal also involved working with Bryant to create a new social media platform “bringing new avenues of connecting China’s young people directly to Kobe and his philosophies,” according to a press release from Alibaba announcing the partnership. Additionally, the company sells a number of Kobe-branded products on its retail platform.
Bryant also had endorsement deals with a number of other brands throughout his career, including McDonald’s (MCD), Sprite, Nintendo (NTDOF) and Turkish Airline.
Covid-19: African Union in talks with China and Russia over vaccine
The AU and Africa CDC have revealed that they have reached out to both China and Russia over the possibility of vaccine partnerships.
The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the African Union announced they have been in talks with China and Russia over the possibility of vaccine partnerships to ensure that Africa is not left behind when vaccines become available.
This was disclosed by John Nkengasong, Africa CDC Chief, at the Bloomberg Invest Africa online conference.
“We are not limiting ourselves to any particular partner. As a continent of 1.2 billion people, we are willing to work with any partner who adheres to our strategic plan for vaccine development and access in Africa.
He said that the WHO Covax programme only covers 20% of the population, but Africa will need 60% of its population vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
“There are multiple avenues being explored now to make sure Africa has the appropriate doses of vaccines and also that we have that in a timely fashion, not in a delayed manner,” Nkengasong said.
He revealed that the AFREXIM Bank agreed to finance vaccine procurement with $5 billion and is waiting to see how much it will receive from World Bank’s $12 billion vaccine procurement fund for developing nations.
What you should know
Nairametrics reported earlier this month that Pfizer Inc. disclosed that its experimental vaccine, which is jointly developed with BioNTech, was more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19, based on initial data from a large study in the ongoing phase 3 trials.
Last week, a pharmaceutical company, Moderna Inc., stated that its COVID-19 vaccine was 94.5% effective in treating coronavirus, after preliminary analysis of a large late-stage clinical trial.
The G-20 nations also announced a pledge to pay for vaccine distribution to developing nations that could not afford it. The leaders also unveiled a debt extension programme to developing nations during the weekend’s G-20 summit.
The Federal Government of Nigeria also announced through the Ministry of Health, that it would inaugurate an 18-man Covid-19 Vaccine Task Team, in a bid to ensure vaccine security In Nigeria.
Covid-19: EU considers skipping vaccine patents to boost vaccine access
The EU has disclosed plans to increase its access to Covid-19 vaccines by offering financial incentives to vaccine production companies.
The European Union says its planning emergency measures to increase its access to Covid-19 vaccines including sidestepping patent rights and offering financial incentives to vaccine production companies to move production to Europe.
This was revealed in an EU document on Wednesday and reported by Reuters. The Document says the EU may create an emergency coordination mechanism to be issued at short notice when the EU needs a vaccine license, which is different from fully patent waivers, discussed in the WTO last week.
The EU says the new move will ensure faster procedures during a pandemic, which will enable generic production in the EU without the consent of patent holders.
“The Commission sees the need to ensure that effective systems for issuing compulsory licenses are in place, to be used as a means of last resort and a safety net, when all other efforts to make IP (intellectual property) available have failed,” the EU’s document said.
The EU’s actions may be triggered by its inability to access the antiviral drug, remdesivir, during the pandemic, as the United States ordered most of the stock.
The EU also disclosed that it will begin a consultation process with pharmaceutical companies next year to address issues in its pharmaceutical value chains. They added that measures could be imposed to encourage manufacturers to move pharmaceutical production to Europe from China and India.
“The Commission calls on member states to ensure that the tools they have are as effective as possible; for instance, by putting in place fast-track procedures for issuing compulsory licenses in emergency situations,” the EU said.
They added that it is urgent “to assess whether manufacturing capacity for certain critical medicines may be required in the EU.”
“We need to be able to rely on ourselves, not on others,” the Commission’s Vice President, Margaritis Schinas said. He disclosed that the EU is working on more compliance with drug supply need and increased stock levels by 2022.
What you should know
This comes as surprise considering the EU rejected a World Trade Organization (WTO) proposal last week to waive the intellectual property rights needed for the manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines. The waiver would have made the vaccine access cheaper for developing nations.
#EndSARS Sanctions: Nigeria has reached out to the UK Government – Foreign Minister
Onyeama has stated that the FG has reached out to the UK Government over the parliamentary debate on the #EndSARS protests.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, said that the Nigerian Government has reached out to the UK Government over the parliamentary debate on the #EndSARS protests.
The Minister disclosed this to Newsmen at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Thursday, which was recorded by Channels TV.
He added that the UK Parliament did not speak for the UK government, and that the UK had heard the Nigerian government’s side regarding the incident at Lekki.
“On the issue of the UK parliament, yes, we have reached out to the UK government on this question. The meeting that took place was of Parliamentarians, they don’t speak for the UK government and the UK government which acts for the United Kingdom has also heard the side of the (Nigerian) government regarding everything that happened.
“So we are in touch with them and engaging with them. But, of course, as in any democracy, the Members of Parliament are able to also air their views, but what is important is that a balanced picture is made available to them all before they take any decision,” Onyeama said.
What you should know
Nairametrics reported earlier this week that the British Parliament had announced it would consider a petition by some groups and individuals, asking it to apply sanctions against the Nigerian government and officials for alleged human rights violations during the #EndSARS protest and Lekki shooting incident.
Also, the presidency earlier disclosed that the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, had a meeting with the UK Special Envoy for Humanitarian Affairs, Nick Dyer, accompanied by the UK High Commissioner to Nigeria.