Why Kobe's Retirement Is A Gold Mine For Brand Endorsements


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This week, basketball fans across generations have started preparing to say goodbye to one of the biggest legends the court has ever seen. Ticket and jersey sales are going berserk, the press and social media can't turn away, and every game or statistic is a new "last ever" for Kobe Bryant.

They say every end is a new beginning - here's why the end of Bryant's time on the basketball court will create a slew of new beginnings in the world of brand endorsements and affiliations.

Bryant's Top Celebrity Status

It is no secret that Kobe Bryant in particular has an elite status not only as an athlete but as a Hollywood celebrity overall. Statistically, he is always ranked in the top echelon of most storied, highest net worth, and most talked about on social media among athletes, in addition to being one of the most skilled and accomplished players of all time. 


As with any celebrity of that level, any breaking news headline or career change provides a perfect branding opportunity, even for just a social media shoutout. Why? It sheds light on a new aspect of the celebrity, opens up a new potential market of appeal, and guarantees extra coverage in the press and talk among fans. While the younger hoops stars such as Stephen Curry and LeBron James have overtaken Kobe Bryant in press coverage and social media trends in recent years, this retirement announcement has now shifted the focus back over to him.


A History Of Brand Endorsements

Fully active athletes, particularly those of high celebrity status, are already considered to be jackpots for brand endorsements, investments, and seeding. Even with their limited time and availability, A-list athletes like Bryant sometimes make even more from their biggest endorsement deals than they do in salary. Kobe Bryant's history of brand affiliations and endorsements have included Lenovo, Nike, BODYARMOR, Call of Duty, Hublot, Turkish Airlines, Guitar Hero, Game Boy, and Sprite.



The Afterlife: What Comes After Retirement

The end of a player's career is certainly not the end of his ties to the industry or his celebrity status. As Bryant winds down his final games on the hardwood, the question remains of what he will do with his time and money. Investing and endorsing brands would be a smart move not only financially, but also to maintain a relevant and positive image as a celebrity. According to Forbes, endorsements for retired athletes (even elders) are growing exponentially, led by Michael Jordan.

Many athletes who retire from playing remain close to the world they know by taking on a team management, coaching, or broadcasting role. This constant proximity to the industry would make a brand endorsement more relevant and ubiquitous to the fan bases. Many viewers also would not be surprised if Bryant made a brief comeback to the court a la Jordan, after a few years of trying to live without the NBA routine.

Until recently, Kobe Bryant was also one of the least active high-profile athletes on social media, refusing to make a Twitter account for years. Perhaps this huge shift in career, schedule, and priorities could allow him to capitalize further on this connection to the younger market, particularly those who were not around to see him play in his prime.


Dip Your Toes In The World Of Celebrity!

You don't need to secure a multimillion-dollar full-fledged endorsement deal for your brand to establish that celebrity connection! Events, gifting, and social media campaigns are a great way to capitalize on celebrity status on a smaller scale, and with less financial commitment.

If you are interested in learning how to get photos of celebrities with your product while also obtaining press, be sure to download our celebrity event planning calendar to see what event options exist to obtain tangible assets that can be shared with consumers, media outlets and retail distributors to impact your sales.

Celebrity Event Planning Calendar by Hollywood Branded