Kobe Bryant’s wife Vanessa Bryant has been awarded $1.5 million in attorney’s fees following a legal battle with the former president of Kobe Inc. over her late husband’s investment in the sports drink company BodyArmor.
TMZ reported the battle all started back in 2019, six months before Kobe’s death, when Molly Carter, the president of Kobe Inc., claimed the basketball star promised her a cut of the earnings he received from his BodyArmor investment.
Kobe paid $6 million for a $10% interest in BodyArmor back in 2013, before Coca-Cola bought it for $5.6 billion a few years later. As a result of the sale, Kobe’s investment yielded him $400 million.
Molly had alleged that Kobe promised her 2% of the $400 million – something Kobe denied ever saying.
Molly filed a lawsuit, and Vanessa stepped up to defend the case and even moved forward with a counterclaim against Molly accusing her of violating the duty of loyalty and non-disparagement clause she signed as part of her employment contract.
Vanessa accused Molly of violating the agreement by making fun of her family, and she included various examples of the ugly words allegedly said about Kobe and even herself.
Vanessa alleges Molly called Kobe ‘an a**hole’, a ‘dick wad’, and a ‘douche nugget.’ She also alleged Molly called her specifically the ‘f***ing devil’, ‘b**ch’, and ‘PSYCHO.’ Molly also allegedly said Vanessa’s newborn daughter had ‘botox lips.’
Vanessa also cited an alleged remark made by Molly when she was traveling to an NBA All-Star game during her employment. Molly allegedly groused ‘a lot of fancy-ass Black people’ were on the jet she was on.
Vanessa reigned victorious in the original lawsuit and her counterclaim after the case was taken to arbitration. She won $1.5 million in attorney’s fees.
In legal documents obtained by TMZ, Kobe’s legal team has requested that an Orange County Superior Court judge ratify the arbitration award.
BodyArmor, which markets itself as a healthier sports drink, was Bryant’s very first investment with Kobe Inc.
When Bryant first invested in BodyArmor, he told Bodyarmor founder Mike Repole, who also co-founded VitaminWater and SmartWater that he wanted to be heavily involved.
Bryant specifically wanted to turn his focus to the brand’s marketing and creative elements, and created the company’s first-ever television ad.
The NBA legend wrote, directed, and narrated the black-and-white ad, which was titled Obsession is Natural and featured athletes like James Harden and Mike Trout.
‘I enjoy storytelling and have always taken an active role in my campaigns throughout my career,’ Bryant told Fox Business when the ad launched in April 2017.
‘As an investor in BodyArmor, this is additional value I bring to the brand. I’m able to provide a creative voice – as an athlete – to give the product an authentic and credible voice.’
Kobe died alongside his daughter Gianna, 13, in a tragic helicopter accident which killed all nine people on board in January 2020. He was 41.