Lakers guard Kobe Bryant partnered with a venture capital firm to close a $15 million investment in The Players’ Tribune, the company announced on Tuesday. Through his own investment firm, Bryant joined New Enterprise Associates to close the Series B financing.
In a news release, The Players Tribune noted that financial support will allow the one-year-old platform “to broaden and further develop its multimedia editorial offerings, including written pieces, photography, podcasts and The Players’ Tribune Radio.” It will also help to expand the website’s video content, including “Players’ POV, “Singular Focus” and “1440.”
Former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter founded the company in 2014, which features athletes telling first-person accounts aided by ghostwriters to talk about various sports issues.
“Through The Players’ Tribune, Derek and his team have built something special. A platform for athletes to own their own stories and present them to fans is an extremely powerful tool,” Bryant said in a statement. “Through this investment and my personal creative involvement, I look forward to joining the vision and helping the team push boundaries in content creation and technology.”
Bryant had contributed an article to The Players Tribune a day after surpassing Michael Jordan last season for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. In a first-person essay, Bryant detailed both his initial struggles with excelling in basketball and his respect for Jordan.
“Kobe and I have a lot more in common than our desire to win on the field or court,” Jeter said in a statement. “We share a common vision for adding another element to the the sports media landscape and strengthening the relationship between fans and athletes. He’s the perfect teammate for me and for the entire Tribune team.”