Bryant set to bring KO punch to UFC with BodyAr­mour

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NEW YORK (AP) — Kobe Bryant is set to en­ter the UFC oc­tagon — at least, with a sports drink.

The re­tired Los An­ge­les Lak­ers great is an in­vestor with BodyAr­mor, the first of­fi­cial sports drink of UFC, and hit New York on Thurs­day to pro­mote the part­ner­ship.

He could have used some­thing stiff to ease the st­ing of the Dodgers’ loss to Hous­ton in the World Se­ries.

“Heart­breaker, man,” he said. “I’m happy for Hous­ton and they der­serve it. But be­ing in LA all these years, my heart breaks for them.”

Bryant was flanked by UFC Pres­i­dent Dana White and fighters Cody Gar­brandt, Fran­cis Ngan­nou and Cythia Calvillo just a left hook away from Madison Square Gar­den. Gar­brandt de­fends the 135-pound ti­tle against T.J. Dil­lashaw on the UFC 218 card Satur­day night at the Gar­den.

Bryant, who gave an in­for­mal back­stage pep talk to the fighters, can’t stick around for the card. He said he was in a rush to get home to his three daugh­ters, the old­est of which, Gianna, has flashed some of the same basketball skills as her dad. Bryant has said he has no in­ter­est in a Lak­ers’ front of­fice role and is con­tent to keep his scout­ing reports within the fam­ily.

“I coach my daugh­ter’s sixth grade team. That’s the ex­tent of it all,” Bryant said. “She’s a beast. She’s tough. She’s a lit­tle fire­cracker, man.”

Bryant, the third-lead­ing scorer in NBA his­tory, called his first year of re­tire­ment “lovely.” like John Williams, who is a com­poser, who seem­ingly has noth­ing to do with what I do but has ev­ery­thing to do with it in terms of how you man­age a team, how you fo­cus on de­tails.”

BodyAr­mour un­veiled its new fla­vor “Knock­out Punch,” specf­i­cally for UFC. BodyAr­mour says it’s the fastest grow­ing sports drink in its cat­e­gory, and boasts 110 per­cent in­crease in sales from last year.

BodyAr­mour wants to usher in a new gen­er­a­tion of sports greats as the undis­puted sports drink champ.

“It’s the box­ing of “I started think­ing sports drinks. That’s about what comes next what Ga­torade is,” when I was 21 years BodyAr­mour founder old,” Bryant said. “When Mike Re­pole said. you re­tire, how do you It’s the kind of trash grow, how do you ma­ture? talk Bryant could sup­port. And also, how do And it’s just a small you un­der­stand the mar­ket?” rea­son why Bryant has in­vested in the com­pany.

Bryant has more than “I was ob­ses­sive busi­ness in­ter­ests to about ev­ery lit­tle de­tail,” keep him busy in re­tire­ment. Bryant said. “From footwear He wrote an ode to what I wear to to basketball ti­tled, re­cov­ery. If I feel like I “Dear Basketball,” that could gain any type of he re­cited in Septem­ber ad­van­tage what­so­ever, I along­side “Jaws” film ob­sessed over that de­tail. com­poser John Williams So yeah, this is some­thing and his orches­tra in Los I wish I would An­ge­les at the Hol­ly­wood have had.” Bowl. He wants to The Lak­ers will re­tire be­come a men­tor to ath­letes, Bryant’s No. 8 and No. in the cor­po­rate 24 in a cer­e­mony Dec. world or any­one who 18 dur­ing their game wants to pick the brain against Golden State. of the five-time NBA Bryant is an 18-time Al­lS­tar cham­pion. and the Lak­ers’

“How can I take the fran­chise leader in knowl­edge that I’ve points (33,643), games learned in my pro­fes­sion played (1,346), 3-point­ers and help them,” Bryant (1,827), steals asked. “I’ve had that in (1,944) and free throws my life. I’ve had guys (8,378).

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