Kobe Bryant was a 'big iPhone guy' with investments in Alibaba and video games on Nintendo

Kobe Bryant was a 'big iPhone guy' with investments in Alibaba and video games on Nintendo
Kobe Bryant gifts Jack Ma a pair of sneakers during the 2009 EC SME Summit in Hangzhou city in East China's Zhejiang provincedfic.cn


  • Kobe Bryant, the legendary NBA Lakers basketball player, passed away in a helicopter crash on Sunday.
  • Bryant was known was his interest in technology but he doesn't consider himself to be 'tech-savvy'.
  • In a 2015 interview, Bryant told YouTuber Marques Brownlee that he was a 'big iPhone Guy'.
  • Bryant has also had a strong relationship with former Alibaba CEO Jack Ma.
  • During his career, the NBA star also released a series of video games with Nintendo.
Kobe Bryant was a 'big iPhone guy' even though he never considered himself to be tech-savvy. The basketball legend died in a helicopter crash on Sunday and the tech industry is mourning his loss.

When he first joined the league, Bryant only had a phone — one that he claims was as big as his head in an interview with Marques Brownlee. The NBA hero used everything from a walkman to CD players — gadgets, he joked, that kids wouldn't even recognise.

"From when I first came into the league, the world is such a different place then it is now in terms of connecting people and following them, things of that sort," Bryant told Brownlee.

Kobe Bryant was a 'big iPhone guy' with investments in Alibaba and video games on Nintendo
Kobe Bryant with tech entrepreneur Justin Sun , CEO of BitTorrent and founder of cryptocurrency platform TRON

Kobe Bryant and video games
Things may not have been high-tech when he first joined basketball, but that soon changed. During his career with the Lakers, Bryant launched his own series of video games with Nintendo. This included titles like NBA Courtside, NBA Showtime, NBA in the Zone and NBA Jam 99.

Later on, he appeared alongside Zach Braff to launch Call of Duty: Black Ops in Santa Monica, California. At the event, the basketball star donated $1 million to Call of Duty Endowment — a nonprofit organisation founded by Activision to help veterans get jobs after they leave the military.

The $100 million technology fund that invested in Alibaba
After the Black Mamba retired from basketball, he and his business partner — investor and former president of Web.com — Jeff Stibel launched a $100 million media, technology and data fund.

When Bryant announced the fund in August 2016, it had already invested into video game designer Scopely, LegalZoom and Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba. However, the relationship between former Alibaba CEO Jack Ma and Bryant goes back even further.

Kobe Bryant was a 'big iPhone guy' with investments in Alibaba and video games on Nintendo
Kobe Bryant with footballer David Beckham with Jack Ma during the Singles’ Day 2015 resultsIgorBeuker

According to CNBC, Byrant met Ma back in 2009 to celebrate Alibaba's 10th anniversary where he presented the CEO with a pair of sneakers.

Bryant's first investment in the company was in 2014, which was then reinforced with Alibaba was chosen to release the basketball star's documents via the Tmall set-top box. The Chinese e-commerce company also launched an entire range of Kobe Bryant products that were sold through Taobao and Tmall.

"This is one of my passions. We are one gear, 100 per cent laser-focused, and here we go," Bryant told CNBC.

Technology, basketball and Kobe Bryant
When he first started his basketball career a lot of player and gameplay research had to be done by going to the library to live matches. With time that got easier, thanks to the internet, according to Byrant.

Bryant also told Brownlee that it's not only beneficial for the players, but also for the coaches — ideally, it should make scouting easier.

Aside from gameplay, technology also plays a big role in basketball behind the scenes. The doctors have to keep getting better and faster — a large part of which includes upgrading the medical devices.

During his time with the Lakers, Bryant showcased some of the technology on his social channels, like using guided injections and anti-gravity treadmills to build endurance and stamina.

Despite 'dabbling' in tech, Bryant doesn't think that he's very tech-savvy.

"From a tech perspective, I've kind of tried to dabble into it a little bit. But I found myself not being extremely passionate about it — unless it's centred around sports or things that involve health, training. Overall, I wouldn't describe myself as a tech-savvy person," he told Brownlee.

See also:
The incredible life of Kobe Bryant, the 41-year-old basketball legend who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday

Tech and business giants mourn the unexpected death of NBA legend turned investor Kobe Bryant, who was known for his 'obsessive' work ethic and used to call leaders like Tim Cook for advice

Kobe Bryant just called himself the greatest basketball player of all time, ranking Michael Jordan second and LeBron James third