“The finality of my playing days is here. It’s become real. It’s been this distant thing, but now, here we are. You just had an Achilles injury. You know that at any given moment (snaps fingers) your career could end just like that,” Kobe Bryant told Darren Rovell on ESPN’s “Sunday Conversation.”
The Lakers’ superstar asked, “So, now what do you have?”
Bryant is a business man, and he has a new sports drink. What is the best way to sell sports drinks? Well, if your name is “Kobe Bryant,” marketing is pretty simple. Call up the largest American sports outlet and tell them you would like to talk.
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The last time Bryant spoke publicly, he called into question the future of the Lakers and spoke about disorganization within the Lakers’ organization. So, how about that discussing that a bit further?
“Well, you know, [Lakers co-owner and Executive Vice-President of Basketball Operations] Jimmy (Buss) and I actually talked after that,” Bryant said. “It was important for us to have that conversation because this is their team. It’s been in their family for several years, and we all know what the track record is with that.”
Bryant was confident that the Lakers would be back, but he was intent on speeding up the process. With only two years left in his playing career, he was obsessed with winning on the basketball court before he turns to selling sports drinks and other products full time.
“This organization is not going to take a nose dive, but I think we need to accelerate it a little bit for selfish reasons because I want to win,” Bryant explained. “And I want to win next season.”
At one point in the interview, Bryant was also asked about the Orange County Register’s headline referring to the current Lakers’ season and team as the “Worst Ever.”
“If you’re going to fail, fail and be the best at it,” Bryant laughed. “You have to have a sense of humor in very dark moments.”
Before the interview ended, however, Bryant was asked about his new sports drink, and that was no accident.
As much as Bryant was speaking about the Lakers with ESPN, this was a marketing engagement to announce the launch of his “Body Armor” sports drink. Accompanying the interview, Bryant posted to his expansive social media network.
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He posted a picture on his Instagram, which has 2.2 million followers, featuring the international superstar posing behind six flavors of his sports drink. With his tweet, Bryant reached an extra 4.56 million followers.
Likely, Bryant will be spending significantly more time doing these types of branding engagements. However, that is for the long-term future. For the immediate future with the Lakers and his basketball career, Bryant offered a glimpse into a world where he dominates motivational speaking.
“We might have had the worst season ever--or could have the worst season ever--for a Lakers’ team. But now, let’s have the greatest comeback that the league has ever seen.”