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.

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