Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, I’m sure you’ve heard of the recent passing of legendary basketball player Kobe Bryant.
It goes without saying that Bryant was an outstanding basketball player who had an incredibly successful career.
But aside from being unique in the basketball world, he was also an exception in that he was one of the few athletes who successfully grew his wealth by going into business and investing.
It’s no secret that many high-earning athletes make a lot of money over a short amount of time but end up broke at the end of their careers.
The statistics vary. Some say that 60% of all NBA players go bankrupt within five years of their careers ending. Others put it at a much smaller 15%.
No matter which number it is – the percentage is staggeringly high and relatively similar across sports.
Take Kenny Anderson, an American basketball player who earned $63 million during his short career but went bankrupt and is now a schoolteacher.
Or Vin Baker, a former NBA player who lost over $100 million and now works at Starbucks.
Even Mike Tyson, who earned $400 million throughout his career, had to declare bankruptcy in 2003.
The examples are countless.
And there are generally a few different reasons why this happens.
There’s the fact that players encourage each other to spend a lot of money – a pressure felt especially by the younger ones, who need to first ‘prove’ they have what it takes to be around the high-earners further in their career.
Another reason is that the career of a pro athlete is, on average, less than 5 years.
Players, however, often think the money tap will stay open for a lot longer than it actually does… and so they fail to plan for the day it’s not there anymore.
But by far the most important factor that contributes to the players’ demise is their lack of financial education. They just don’t know what to do with their money.
The moment they meet with a financial advisor and it sounds like Chinese to them… they tap out. They never go back.
So they keep surrounding themselves with other players who don’t know what to do with their money – and they throw it all away with outrageous expenses and terrible investments.
A handful of professional athletes, however, have managed to not only keep their money – but to grow it... a lot.
Magic Johnson is one of them. His business conglomerate, Magic Johnson Enterprises, is valued at over $700 million. He’s been a part-owner of both the Los Angeles Lakers, the Sparks, and the Dodgers, leveraging his knowledge of sports to create value and build his wealth.
Michael Jordan is another example – probably the most famous of all. Although he earned ‘just’ $100 million during his career as a basketball player, his net worth is estimated to be around $2 billion today, thanks to his savvy business ventures and investments.
But Kobe Bryant was in that league too. Unlike other athletes, he pushed his brand into China and became one of the most famous players in the country.
He was the global ambassador for the NBA in China, and partnered with Alibaba, a Chinese internet giant, to release a documentary about his life.
He also co-founded a $100-million venture fund to invest in promising tech, media, and data companies, and founded Kobe Inc. to own and grow brands in the sports industry.
The company made the news when a $6 million investment from Kobe into a sports drink company became worth $200 million in just 4 years.
Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, and Magic Johnson built successful ventures outside of their sport, by taking part of what they earned and investing it.
They educated themselves, leveraged what they knew and implemented a timeless system to take their financial success to the next level.
That system is exactly what we teach at Beyond Entrepreneurs. We help entrepreneurs create long-term wealth outside of their business so that they can thrive in the long-term, no matter what happens to their business.
Now, we didn’t invent this system. Just like others, we studied under some of the most successful people we’ve had the chance to learn from.
But whether you are an entrepreneur or an athlete, the recipe for long-term wealth remains the same: take part of what you earn and invest it wisely.
Structuring your business ventures and investments properly takes just a bit of education and a willingness to look at things differently.
Learning how to do this - and acting on it - is what Beyond Entrepreneurs is all about.