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NO PRESSURE: BRYANT LABELED BY TWO MAGS AS "AIR APPARENT"
Published March 9, 1998
The Lakers' Kobe Bryant is profiled in the current issues of BUSINESS WEEK and NEWSWEEK. Under the header, "Is Kobe Bryant The Air Apparent?," BUSINESS WEEK's Grover, Hyman & Scotti write that '97-98 "hasn't been the smoothest [NBA] season in memory," and the question "on everyone's mind" is who will succeed Michael Jordan. NBA CMO Rick Welts, on the post-Jordan era: "The game will continue to be driven by individual personalities and stars." Grover, Hyman & Scotti write that Bryant is "the complete package. ... This superstar-in-the-making still lives with his mom, dad, and two sisters. In a league in which green-haired attention hogs have been known to headbutt refs, Bryant is a gentleman who says he 'never thought' of getting tattoos and doesn't drink or take drugs because 'my parents told me it wouldn't be good for my health.' Can this kid be real?" Bryant's endorsement deals with adidas, Spalding and Sprite "could" hit an estimated $5M and a deal with McDonald's "has been in negotiations for months." Rick Burton, Dir of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the Univ. of OR, said that Bryant is "one of the few guys who could get within shouting distance" of the $40M in marketing deals that Jordan earns. In regards to image, Bryant said that he doesn't want "to overextend myself. People can become bored with you." Bryant's former agent, Rick Bradley of William Morris, says the "game plan" for Bryant from the beginning was to "go slow so that his game can develop." Bryant's agent is Arn Tellem, while most of the deals regarding Kobe "are approved by his father," Joe Bryant (BUSINESS WEEK, 3/16 issue). JELLYBEAN SHOULD BE PROUD: NEWSWEEK profiles Bryant under the header "Air Apparent," and Samuels & Starr write "the rush to find an Air apparent is on. For now, all roads lead to Kobe ... the flashiest and, in many ways, the savviest of the new breed of NBA stars." Samuels & Starr: "With a taste for urban style, Bryant is hip-hop meets 'Father Knows Best.' He is unfailingly polite, signing autographs and answering questions, and dutiful in his civic and charity obligations" (NEWSWEEK, 3/16 issue).