Art of Sport, the skincare and grooming brand launched two years ago with the backing of basketball legend Kobe Bryant and other athlete investors, is preparing to grow its retail presence six-fold next year.

The company today announced it has closed a $6 million funding round designed to fuel its retail expansion.

The round, the first external funding announced by the Los Angeles-based company, was led by CircleUp Growth Partners and includes Mark Cuban, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Bam Ventures, Darco Capital, and NBA veteran Wilson Chandler.

The brand, currently sold in Target
stores and on Amazon
.com and its own website, is planning to use the capital in part to ramp up production in preparation for a rollout to new retail partners

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Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant were always going to be connected as members of the 1996 draft class, but they emerged as the two faces of the NBA, East and West, for their era.

The dueled in the 2001 NBA Finals, with Kobe coming out on top, and battled for scoring titles and MVP honors over the years. They were two icons of basketball culture, players who defined what it was to be cool on and off the court. You wanted their swagger, their confidence, and, most importantly, their handles and silky jump shots. The admiration and respect for each other extended to the two of them, one a Philly native and the other a Philly icon. Iverson was there when Bryant’s jerseys were retired, celebrating right along with Kobe despite that being the man that kept him from his best chance at a championship.

As the league celebrated Bryant’s

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