While Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s wife of 19 years, gave an emotional tribute in front of many friends and fans, Kobe’s parents haven’t been seen or heard of.
Pamela Cox Bryant and Joe Bryant are Kobe’s parents, and aside from the NBA legend, they also have two daughters, Sharia and Shaya. Growing up, the family was close, just as they were throughout most of Kobe’s career. However, in 2013, the family got caught trying to sell Kobe’s memorabilia behind his back, which caused a huge falling out.
Here are three fast facts about Joe Bryant:
Joe Bryant Played for the NBA
Known as Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, the 6-foot-9 man was drafted by the Golden State Warriors out of La Salle University. Joe officially started playing in the NBA for the Philadelphia 76ers and lasted 4 seasons. In 1979 he was then traded to the San Diego Clippers, stayed for three years, and finished off his NBA career in Houston playing for the Rockets in 1983. Then, he went off to Europe to play for seven years.
Kobe Bryant Lost All Respect for His Father As a Basketball Player
Joe Bryant was initially Kobe Bryant’s manager, but after he said that Kobe’s entire career would’ve been different if Kobe had been in a different system and able to play on the perimeter just like Magic Johnson, Kobe lost respect for him.
Joe Was the Head Coach of the Los Angeles Sparks
After Joe Bryant retired from playing basketball, he started up his coaching career while he was in Europe. He started at the Akiba Hebrew Academy coaching the women’s basketball team and then the assistant coach at La Salle University in the U.S.
In 2005, Kobe Bryant’s father became the head coach for the WNBA Los Angeles Sparks until 2007.