"The unexpected time off last season forced Bryant to think about his post-basketball future."
"I'm afraid, too,'' he said Friday at the summer TV critics' meeting. "You really have to lean on muses and mentors going forward, just as I did as a kid. It's about having that next wave of things, which is scary as hell, but it's fun at the same time.''
On Friday, Bryant spoke openly about what awaits him after a legendary career on the hardwood while promoting his upcoming documentary, Kobe Bryant's Muse, which will air on Showtime in November.
In March, it was announced that Bryant put up millions of dollars for a sizable share in the sports drink BodyArmor.
Forbes' Kurt Badenhausen provided the details:
"The first investment for Kobe Inc. is in emerging sports drink BodyArmor. Bryant categorized his investment as “substantial” and says, “I put my skin in the game.” Bryant will sit on the board of directors and own more than 10% of the company, according to one source familiar with the negotiations."
Forbes added: "His deals with Turkish Air, Lenovo, Hublot, Nike and Panini for merchandise are worth more than $30 million annually." In 2013-14, he had the third-most popular jersey, behind only LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
After he was limited to just six appearances (the fewest of his career) during the 2013-14 season due to Achilles rehabilitation and a fracture to his left tibial plateau, Bryant appears to be looking forward to a comeback season with a new cast of characters.
Of late, the Lakers have made moves to acquire Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer while retaining veteran pieces like Xavier Henry, Wesley Johnson and Nick Young in order to round out their depth chart.
And as Bleacher Report's D.J. Foster notes, the Boozer signing makes plenty of sense given the team's other frontcourt additions:
"While Carlos Boozer is clearly a 4, he does offer up a different skill set than the players currently on the roster. Boozer is the most accomplished post scorer of the trio by a large margin, and his ability to face up and knock in mid-range jumpers will be valuable next to both Hill and Davis."
While it remains to be seen if general manager Mitch Kupchak's wheeling and dealing will be enough to push Kobe and Co. into the Western Conference playoff picture, there's no doubt the Purple and Gold should be a fascinating case study to track in the year ahead.
With scorers aplenty in Bryant, Lin, Boozer and Young, the Lakers figure to replicate much of the offensive success that saw former head coach Mike D'Antoni's club finish No. 11 overall in nightly scoring (103.0 points per game) last season.
But when it comes to defensive improvement, the Lakers are facing an uphill battle. Following a 2013-14 season where they finished 28th overall in defensive efficiency, per Basketball-Reference.com, Bryant and the Lakers' new head coach will need to stress the importance of intensity on both ends of the floor.
One thing remains certain: No matter how many wins the Lakers accumulate this season, fans should be thrilled to welcome a healthy Bryant back to the floor as his time in the Association winds down.
source: bleacherreport.com By Alec Nathan