After 20 seasons in the NBA, Kobe Bryant plays his final game tonight. Kobe was just 17 years old when he was drafted as the 13th pick by the Charlotte Hornets in 1996. Because he was under 18 (by just a few months) his parents had to co-sign his NBA contract. He was a Hornet for less than a week when the Lakers parted with Vlade Divac to get the young phenom. Today Kobe is 37 years old and will finish his incredible career as one of the greatest players of all time.
During his career, Kobe was a 5-time NBA champion, 2-time NBA Finals MVP, 18-time NBA All-Star, 4-time NBA All-Star Game MVP and one-time NBA MVP.
And during his career, Kobe earned a lot of money… both on the court and off the court. How much money did he earn? Did he earn more from playing or more from endorsements? And finally, what is Kobe Bryant's net worth today? Here are your answers:
After tonight, The Lakers will have paid Kobe a total of $323,312,307. That averages out to $20 million per year. His lowest career salary, $1,015,000, came in his rookie year. His highest career salary, $30,453,805, came during the 2013-2014 season. Now, if you think that's way too much money for one team to pay one player, keep this in mind: When Kobe was a rookie in 1996, The Lakers were valued at $200 million. Today The Lakers are worth a minimum of $2.6 billion. Potentially over $3 billion. And one could argue that a large part of that increase in value is a direct result of Mr. Bryant.
During his career (so far) Kobe has earned $360 million from endorsements. His biggest benefactor, as you might guess, has been Nike. Nike has paid Kobe $10 million a year since 2003. Before that, Nike paid him around $8 million per year. Over the last eight years of his career, Kobe has earned between $20 and $30 million per year from endorsements alone. Before that, he was earning $10 – $13 million per year.
Kobe's total career earnings:
When you combine salary and endorsements, Kobe Bryant earned $683 million during his career. His best year ever was the 2013-2014 season when his salary and endorsement income combined to a whopping $58 million.
Kobe Bryant's net worth: When it's all said and done, today we estimate that Kobe Bryant's is sitting on a net worth of $350 million.
And that could keep going up! Kobe doesn't exactly plan on slowing down or keeping a low profile in the coming years. His brand is especially powerful in China right now. But do you think Kobe will continue to be such a massive earner in retirement? Do you think he'll have the lasting power as a brand to match someone like Michael Jordan?