Kobe Bryant‘s mother is Pamela Bryant.
The 65-year-old Las Vegas socialite, who is also the mother of Sharia, 43, and Shaya, 42, made headlines in the past for her tumultuous relationship with her superstar son. But following the sudden death of Kobe alongside his daughter, Gianna Bryant, and seven other victims in a helicopter crash on January 26, Pamela is understandably devastated.
A source close to the family told Extra that the lives of Kobe’s parents Pam and Joe Bryant have been “turned upside down” in the aftermath of Kobe and Gianna’s deaths.
Here is more to know about Pam Bryant.
She Comes From An NBA Family
In 1975, Pam married Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, who once played for the classic lineup of the Philadelphia 76ers that featured Julius Irving, Doug Collins and George McGinnis. She gave birth to future NBA superstar Kobe in 1978.
But Pam’s side of the family knows how to score on the court as well, per the fansite NBA Family. Her brother is John “Chubby” Cox, who was drafted by the Chicago Bulls and later played for the Washington Bullets in the 1980s.
In addition, “Chubby” is the father of professional Venezuelan-American basketball player John Cox IV, who represented Team Venezuela at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Based on social media pics, the younger Cox was close with his famous cousin and spent time with him and Gianna in New York City just one month before their tragic deaths.
She Did Not Initially Approve Of Kobe’s Young Marriage
Pamela was happy about his date to his senior prom in 1996—after meeting singer Brandy at the Essence Awards the future NBA superstar was determined to ask her to be his date.
“He came home from the Essence Awards and said, “I met such a nice, beautiful, intelligent, sweet person,'” Bryant’s mom, Pamela, told Philly.com, per Insider. “Then when [Brandy] called, she said, “My mom might let me go.’ I thought it was so sweet.”
Unfortunately, she reportedly wasn’t as enthusiastic about his future bride. Pam and Joe did not attend Kobe’s April 2001 wedding to Vanessa Bryant. In a 2003 interview with The Orlando Sentinel, Kobe revealed that his parents were uncomfortable with the fact that his young wife, who was 18 when they became engaged, was a Latina and that he was devoted to her in every way.
But Joe denied that he and his wife had any animosity toward their daughter-in-law.
“When Kobe made a decision to be with someone he cared about, Pam and I decided it was time to back off, that’s all it was,” Joe Bryant said at the time.
Kobe reconnected with his mother following the birth of his firstborn daughter, Natalia, but his estrangement from his father lasted a bit longer.
Pam Publicly Apologized To Kobe In 2013
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“I just love to play the game. I want to play as much as I can while I can. And as long as I’m happy playing, I’ll play all day and all night.” * * * July is one of the busiest months of the year for high school basketball players and it was the same for Kobe back in 1995. Kobe filled his days from morning till night, working on his game, playing in the Narberth League, Bonner League, Sonny Hill League, on the playground, in the gym — anywhere. And he capped his local dominance with a national MVP performance at the legendary ABCD camp. He even led his Delaware Valley team to a gold medal at the former Keystone State Games (an Olympic-style event for the entire state of PA) against a Philadelphia team coached by high school coach Gregg Downer. When asked how he balanced everything, the answer above pretty much says it all. (pics from ABCD camp and Narberth League, clips from the Philly Inquirer) #mambamondays #mambamentality #basketballneverstops
In 2013, Pam Bryant and her husband attempted to auction off a large amount of high school mementos that Kobe had given them, including basketball jerseys he wore when he played at Lower Merion High, according to USA Today.
Kobe later took court action to have the auction stopped, and his sister Sharia confirmed that their mother “frequently” talked about how the family could “make money on items associated with Kobe.”
The lawsuit ended with an agreement on the number of items that could be sold, and a heartfelt apology from Kobe’s parents, who publicly thanked their son for his generosity to them over the years.
Sadly, Joe and Pamela were absent during their son’s final NBA game in April 2016, although they were said to have possibly reconciled following his retirement. It is unclear when Pam Bryant last saw her son before his death.