Rockets: James Harden is carrying on Kobe Bryant’s businessman legacy

Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

While Kobe Bryant inspired Houston Rockets star James Harden on the court, he also paved the way for James to thrive in the business market.

If you haven’t noticed, James Harden has been more active lately with Bodyarmor, a sports drink company he has a stake in. As he recently spoke about, the initial investment the Houston Rockets superstar made into them was inspired by none other than the late, great Kobe Bryant.

The sports drink has had more ad spots like this one recently, which features athletes like Harden, Mike Trout, Megan Rapinoe and Skylar Diggins-Smith. As James discussed with Jabari Young of CNBC recently, Bodyarmor is in the midst of a huge $20 million campaign after a successful five-year stretch financially.

The ad campaign will be the first one without Kobe Bryant, who initially invested $6 million into the company — a figure which is valued at $200 million now. In speaking with CNBC, Harden referred to Bryant as “his big brother,” giving credit to him for getting him involved with the business world.

“We’re all doing it for Kobe, a legend who put all his heart and passion into the company,” Harden said.

Kobe Bryant’s Many Ties to the Houston Rockets

While Bryant undoubtedly influenced everyone involved in the Rockets organization in some way, his relationship with the superstar duo of Harden and Russell Westbrook seemed to be particularly special.

Westbrook competed against Kobe’s Lakers in two playoff series while on the Oklahoma City Thunder, playing alongside Harden one of those times. Both James and Russell also got to share the stage with Kobe on the gold-medal-winning 2012 Olympic Men’s Basketball team.

Rockets Head Coach Mike D’Antoni also bonded with Kobe over their roots to Italy, even reportedly inspiring Bryant’s jersey number as a child.

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In at least one way, James Harden will be able to carry on Kobe’s legacy in his work with Bodyarmor, as he works alongside Vanessa Bryant as a stakeholder. The next major television ad is set to air on May 24th during the PGA charity event The Match: Champions for Charity, which will air on TNT, TBS and truTV.