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Volume 26 No. 231
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Off The Field: Kobe's Investment Arm Reaches New Heights

Six years after KOBE BRYANT co-founded Bryant Stibel & Co., the VC firm now has access to more than $2B in "resources under management," according to Edward Baig of USA TODAY. With a "main focus on tech, media, data and companies believed to have the potential to become 'unicorns,' Bryant Stibel has made a range of investments, several in businesses with familiar consumer brands." About a third of the 19 active companies in the Bryant Stibel portfolio are worth more than $1B. Overall, Bryant Stibel has "invested in 28 companies, with three -- Dell, Alibaba and National Vision -- having gone public." Bryant, for one, has been an "active participant" in the company's ventures (USA TODAY, 9/19). Bryant: “We continue to grow, we continue to make smart decisions, make smart investments across the technology media and data space." Bryant added of the leaders they look for, “You’ve got to have strong entrepreneurs (which) is really the key for us is looking at the people" ("Squawk on the Street," CNBC, 9/19).

RENAISSANCE MAN: Titans CB ADOREE' JACKSON and business partner JAMES MOORE are preparing a "pitch to HGTV for a television show that features the home redecoration projects of young professional athletes." Jackson has completed "two offseasons’ worth of internships at Warner Bros. to deepen his understanding of the TV industry." Most of the athletes Jackson’s series will feature are on their first contracts and have to "practice a degree of frugality." But the show’s design team will "still help them find ways to outfit the homes in luxury while adhering to a budget" (USA TODAY, 9/19).

SHAQ & FRIENDS: SHAQUILLE O'NEAL has "struck a deal with 50 Central producer Back Roads Entertainment to develop scripted and non-scripted TV series." O'Neal's "initial focus will be on gameshows, comedy and family entertainment for U.S. and international broadcasters." O’Neal, business partner MICHAEL PARRIS and production company Jersey Legends will "work closely" with Back Roads Founder COLBY GAINES, as well as a "new development team assigned to the partnership."  O’Neal, Parris and Gaines will "serve as executive producers on all projects" (DEADLINE.com, 9/17).

RETIREMENT PLANS: Former NFLer CHRIS LONG has spent "seven figures" to build Chalk Media into the "latest iteration of an athlete-driven media company." Chalk "plans to unveil a series of interview shows next month, and launch a website between the Super Bowl and NFL Draft next year." Long has already conducted interviews with the likes of Fanatics Founder & Exec Chair MICHAEL RUBIN, MICHAEL STRAHAN and Nets G JOE HARRIS (THEATHLETIC.com, 9/19).