Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant's Business Empire Broke the Mold for Retired Athletes

Bryant pushed the idea of a post-sports career into the 21st century, working in venture capital and the media, and building a major following in China.

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Kobe Bryant was best known for bringing his competitive spirit to the basketball court — the “mamba mentality” as it was called — but in recent years, he also applied it to the business world, according to NBC News.

Bryant, who died Sunday in a helicopter crash that also took the life of his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others on board, emerged after a decorated career in the NBA as a force in a variety of industries and a voice on multiple social issues, efforts that were on the way to pushing his career beyond that of many of his NBA peers.

“He was moving from success to significance,” said Lee Igel, a professor at NYU’s Tisch Institute for Global Sport. “Most people got to know him as a high schooler. We were watching him grow and watching him change and take what had been his successes on the court and channeling them into these acts of significance, into things that mattered to him.”

Many professional athletes, from fellow Laker Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan to boxer George Foreman and golfer Arnold Palmer, had paved the path to successful business careers with traditional investments in sports teams, clothing brands and restaurants.

Read more at NBCNews.com.

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