Kobe Bryant is set for life and keeps getting richer.
Kobe Bryant is set for life and keeps getting richer.

One move makes Kobe Bryant $270 million

NBA icon Kobe Bryant has never been short a quid - but an incredible financial stab has made his already bulging wallet even chunkier.

Bryant made a neat $382 million (roughly $520 million Australian) during his glittering 20-year career at the Lakers, putting him comfortably within the sport's top five biggest earners.

But the former Los Angeles star was making big-money investments to build his post-career empire years before his retirement in 2016.

One of his most notable investments was a $6 million ($A8.3 million) stake in Coca-Cola's start-up sports drink BodyArmour in 2014.

The seven-figure sum granted the towering guard a 10 per cent stake in the company alongside fellow sports stars James Harden, Dustin Johnson (NFL) and Andrew Luck (golf).

ESPN revealed up to 12 high-profile athletes could have equity in BodyArmour as part of their already lucrative endorsement deals.

Four years later, Bryant is the fourth largest investor in the brand, which is a strong competitor to sport drink giant Gatorate in the US.

It grew from $13 million in sales to an estimated $553 million in just over 50 months of business, turning the 39-year-old's original stake into $270 million.

The spike in sales is a major win for Coca-Cola. It is is competing against Pepsi's Gatorade - which has topped the $10 billion US sport drink market for decades - for top-dog status.

"They've really made an impact in the market," executive editor of Beverage Digest Duane Stanford said of Body Armour.

Bryant isn't the only big name in the NBA known for high-paying investments, either.

Former Cavs star LeBron James - who has moved to the Lakers for the 2018/19 season - has made plenty out of his investment in Dr Dre's Beats.

Kobe Bryant is a cashed-up wrecking ball in the investment game.
Kobe Bryant is a cashed-up wrecking ball in the investment game.

James sold his share of the audio company for $41 million in 2014. He is also linked to a $1.38 million stake in US pizza company Blaze, which earned him and his business partner Maverick Carter about $55 million.

Bryant launched his own fund with partner Vanessa in 2016, the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation.

"It's the inner belief that a person has that he will endure no matter what the obstacle may be. It's that persistence, the entrepreneur doing what he or she truly believes in and truly loves to do," he said upon the fund's launch.

The fund "is dedicated to improving the lives of youth and families in need, both domestically and globally, and encouraging young people to stay active through sports" and provides "financial resources for relevant issues in order to strengthen communities through educational and cultural enrichment opportunities".