Most of America knew Kobe Bryant as an NBA superstar, a shooting guard who led the Los Angeles Lakers to countless championships. Jeff Stibel knew him off the court.
In an emotional Instagram message, Stibel broke his silence and lamented about "what was ahead" for Bryant. The duo struck up a friendship, and later a venture capital firm baring their names, as Bryant was plotting his retirement from professional sports. Venture capital — and just being an entrepreneur — was the hoop star's second act.
"My dear friend, this isn't possible. We both knew what was ahead and it was so special," Stibel wrote on Instagram. "The next chapter in the decades to come were going to change everything. People keep talking about what you did, but all I keep thinking about was what was ahead."
The Bryant Stibel website late Thursday changed over to a black-and-white photo of Bryant.
Alongside, a written ode to its co-founder: "Kobe Bryant was more than a founding partner at Bryant Stibel. He was a founding visionary who quickly became an accomplished entrepreneur and investor."
View this post on InstagramMy dear friend, this isn't possible. We both knew what was ahead and it was so special. The next chapter in the decades to come were going to change everything. People keep talking about what you did, but all I keep thinking about was what was ahead. Your legacy will continue to unfold and grow in the achievements of the people you have touched. My heart breaks for Gigi, it aches for Vanessa and the girls. I refuse to believe you are gone—you will always be with us and we will live up to your impossible standards. I love you my friend.
A post shared by Jeff Stibel (@jstibel) on Jan 29, 2020 at 6:22pm PST
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