Kobe Bryant Guards His Team in Battle Vs. Pepsi and Coca-Cola

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Kobe Bryant is no stranger to competition, or making millions of dollars from selling a brand.

However, this time around, the National Basketball Association superstar point guard of the Los Angeles Lakers has jumped into a different arena: sports drinks.

Bryant's new equity ownership in BodyArmor puts him up against a couple of drinks giants guarding their own stake in the sports drinks arena: Pepsico (PEP) and Coca-Cola (KO).

The partnership BodyArmor and Kobe Bryant announced last week gives Bryant an ownership stake of more than 10%, or the third-largest shareholder in the company. Bryant will also sit on the board of directors and is putting his "skin in the game" with an estimated $6 million investment.

For now Bryant won't be used in advertisements but he is making his presence felt in other ways. Since the announcement he has been busy sharing people's tweets on Twitter that involve BodyArmor. This helps spread the brand, considering Bryant has 4.5 million followers on Twitter.

BodyArmor has had success signing athletes to endorsement deals through contracts and also small equity stakes. With Kobe Bryant in the mix, BodyArmor may see a surge in endorsement deals, especially in the NBA thanks to No. 24's many friends.

He can even say the drink helped him recover from a torn Achilles tendon in quick form.

Kobe Bryant aside, Body Armor has endorsement deals with an assortment of sports stars including Mike Trout, Kevin Love, James Harden, Andrew Luck, Buster Posey, Lesean McCoy and Rob Gronkowski. Several of them, such as Luck and Posey, are also partial owners.

Bryant's involvement in sports drinks shows their growing importance to soft-drinks behemoths Coke and Pepsi. As sales of carbonated beverages flatten, particularly in North America, sports drinks and water have grown in importance.

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