Vanessa Bryant Receives Major Inheritance Through Kobe's Investment

Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna's deaths in late January 2020 felt like a tragedy to so many fans, who didn't even know the athlete personally, which only means it must have been 100 times worse for his family, including his wife Vanessa Bryant and their three other children, Capri, Bianka, and Natalia. 

Although nothing can truly make the loss better, it was reported in late May 2020 that Kobe was worth $600 million at the time of his death, thanks to his basketball deals and his business investments, per Extra TV. In fact, Vanessa stands to inherit his stake in BodyArmor, a sports drink brand founded by Mike Repole. In 2013, Kobe invested $5 million for a 10% stake in the brand. In 2018, the basketball player's stake was worth $200 million after a deal the brand made with Coca-Cola, which spiked the brand's worth to upwards of $2 billion, per Extra

Repole was floored by Kobe's passing, telling Fox Business, "I lost a dear friend. I lost a brother with Kobe and BodyArmor lost a founding father. Kobe Bryant's fingerprints are all over the BodyArmor brand. The brand wouldn't be in the position it's in if Kobe wasn't a believer back in 2012 and 2013." He added, "For me, this has always been a journey, the last seven or eight years, with Kobe, and now I feel like this is a journey for Kobe. To me, BodyArmor really is his business legacy." And Kobe was just getting started. 

Kobe Bryant was dedicated to BodyArmor

Kobe Bryant wasn't just some guy with money to throw around — he was really active in the BodyArmor brand. According to Fox Business, Kobe was on the company's board of directors and had creative control over the national ad campaigns, going so far as to write, direct, and narrate the first ever TV ad for BodyArmor in 2017. It's unclear if Vanessa Bryant plans on holding the same kind of leadership role or what she'll do with her stakes in the company, but since it was apparently so dear to her husband, it's likely she'll continue his legacy in some capacity. 

Kobe invested in a couple other companies as well, including the UFC after the organization made BodyArmor its official drink. UFC president Dana White said that Kobe was pumped about the move. White told TMZ in February 2020, "Kobe got a distribution from the UFC the Wednesday before the incident and he was so pumped up and excited and he said what everybody always says, 'I wish I had invested more!'"

In 2013, Kobe and friend Jeff Stibel founded Bryant Stibel & Co, a firm that has invested in over 28 companies, per Extra TV, including Alibaba, Dell, and National Vision. Kobe was smart with his money. He once told USA Today about his second life as a money man since retiring from the NBA, "I understand the importance of building value and being smart with your finances." It obviously worked out. 

Vanessa Bryant filed a wrongful death suit, too

As fans will recall, Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas with his daughter Gianna and seven other people in late January 2020. According to CNN, Vanessa Bryant filed a wrongful death suit against Island Express, the helicopter company, and deceased pilot Ara Zobayan, though the pilot's family responded that the passengers were negligent and knew some risk was involved in the flight. Attorneys for Berge Zobayan, the descendant of the pilot, filed documents stating, "any injuries or damages to plaintiffs and/or their decedent was directly caused in full or in part by the negligence or fault of plaintiffs and/or their decedent." 

In April 2020, the families of crash victims Christina Mauser, as well as John Altobelli, his wife Keri, and their 14-year-old daughter Alyssa, also filed wrongful death claims, again per CNN. The outlet reported that while on their way to a basketball game at Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, Calif., the helicopter crashed due to foggy conditions. 

Kobe Bryant was madly in love with Vanessa

Vanessa and Kobe Bryant married in April 2001, and she memorialized him on Instagram for their wedding anniversary. In mid-April 2020, she shared a picture of the two hugging as Kobe kissed her cheek, captioned, "My king, my heart, my best friend. Happy 19th wedding anniversary baby. I miss you so much. I wish you were here to hold me in your arms. I love you."

Given that she met Kobe when she was just 17 years old and he was 20, they really did know each other for their entire adult lives and stayed seemingly madly in love with each other throughout. After the wedding, Kobe told MTV News, "Love is a funny thing. I can't explain it and I can't understand it. All I know is, she caught my heart and I just knew that she was the one." 

It makes sense that Vanessa is inheriting her husband's accumulated wealth, and she'll certainly know what he would have wanted to do with it.