Image: Keith Allison Image: Keith Allison

A man who can only be described as a US basketball legend has launched his next career path after retiring from the sport that brought him fame and fortune. Kobe Bryant has teamed up with American entrepreneur Jeff Stibel to launch a $100 million (£76m) investment fund.

The former Lakers captain, who retired just a few months ago, told the Wall Street Journal that the "Bryant Stibel" fund will invest in companies operating in the data, tech and media industries, explaining that he has developed an eye for an entrepreneur during his 20-year basketball career.

But this isn't technically something new for Bryant and Stibel. They have invested together before, 15 times, in fact. The Bryant Stibel fund is the start of their formal partnership.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Bryant explained entrepreneurs require a very similar skillset to elite athletes, which has given him an advantage in spotting exciting opportunities to invest in.

"It's the inner belief that a person has that he will endure no matter what the obstacle may be. It's that persistence, the entrepreneur doing what he or she truly believes in and truly loves to do," he said.

And if you're thinking that Bryant will throw his celebrity status behind every company they invest in, plastering his face all over the branding and marketing, you're wrong.

"We don't want to be in the business of investing in companies so someone can use Kobe as an endorser. That's not interesting. The point is to add real value," Mr Stibel said.

Kobe Bryant certainly isn't the first sporting star to turn to investment and entrepreneurship after retiring, and he certainly won't be the last. Fellow former basketball giant (literally) Shaquille O'Neal has invested in several tech start-ups since retiring in 2011. Michael Jordan too launched his famous 'sneaker' line. Thierry Henry has started investing in companies following his glittering career on the football pitch. And probably the most famous of all, David Beckham.