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Kobe Bryant Cold Calls Oprah, Apple’s Ive for Tips

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July 22 (Bloomberg) -- Kobe Bryant, known for his dedication on the basketball court, is showing similar commitment when it comes to Kobe Inc. The Los Angeles Lakers All-Star said he often cold calls industry leaders such as Apple Inc.’s Jony Ive to seek advice.

“I want to learn more about how they build their business or how they run their companies,” Bryant said in a Bloomberg Television interview, promoting his Showtime documentary “Kobe Bryant’s Muse.” “I cold call (Nike Inc. Chief Executive Officer) Mark Parker all the time -- Jony Ive, Oprah Winfrey, Arianna Huffington... The list goes on and on.”

Bryant, who signed a two-year contract extension with the Lakers in November, is planning for life beyond basketball. The 35-year-old hired Gatorade Co. Vice President Andrea Fairchild and has invested in sports-drink maker Body Armor, as he turns Kobe Inc. into a personal enterprise.

His targets have been receptive. Bryant says he visited Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, in May to meet with Ive, Apple’s chief desginer.

“I spent the day there, talking with Jony and picking his brain about product,” Bryant said. “I’m very, very curious about that and understanding that.”

9to5Mac recently reported that Apple has teamed up with professional athletes to test the fitness capabilities of the soon to be released “iWatch.”

Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, didn’t return a call seeking comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Erlichman in Los Angeles at jerlichman1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net; Pui-Wing Tam at ptam13@bloomberg.net Reed Stevenson