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Kobe Bryant’s wife and kids were at the Staples Center to see his 60-point farewell game this month, but his parents Joe and Pamela Bryant were noticeably absent. And now we know why.
The NBA legend hasn’t spoken to them in thee years – all because they tried to auction off some of his high school memorabilia behind his back.
Kobe hasn’t spoken to his parents in nearly three years. Not since 2013, when they tried to auction off his high school memorabilia without his consent.
“Our relationship is sh*t,” he says. “I say [to them], ‘I’m going to buy you a very nice home, and the response is ‘That’s not good enough’?” he says. “Then you’re selling my sh*t?”
Kobe Bryant and his parents, Joe and Pamela Bryant
His parents issued a statement after lawyers worked out a settlement allowing them to auction six items of memorabilia totaling $500,000, “We regret our actions and statements related to the Kobe Bryant auction memorabilia,” the statement from Joe and Pamela Bryant read. “We apologize for any misunderstanding and unintended pain we may have caused our son and appreciate the financial support that he has provided to us over the years.”
Kobe also says he no longer gives financial support to his two sisters, because they each have college degrees, their own careers and can support themselves.
Kobe said he used his father’s failures in the NBA as motivation:
As Kobe grew older, and learned of the disappointments of his father’s NBA career, it was harder to relate. Joe was a 6-foot-9 forward with the skill set of a guard. That would be en vogue in today’s NBA, but in the Eastern Conference of the late 1970s, he was miscast as a defensive specialist. According to Joe, his whole career would’ve been different if he’d been in a different system and able to play on the perimeter like Magic Johnson.
“When I hear those things,” Kobe says. “I don’t really understand them.”
Why should the whims of fate — which system he played in — determine the success of a man’s career? How could his father accept that? There is always a way to bend things the way you want them.
In Kobe’s mind, he would never accept disappointment on the court like his father did. He couldn’t. Not if he wanted to be a legend.