With Lindsay Lohan checking into rehab today, I couldn’t help but think about her wacky parents. A lot of people feel that any parent that let’s their young child have a career in Hollywood is doing a disservice, but…we’ve seen things regarding her mom and dad that have shown us they’re a lot worse than most stage moms.
This leads me into todays topic – Kobe Bryant’s parents. I have a history with them. Well, sort of.
When I was an 9-year-old basketball lover, I was always talking my parents into taking me to the San Diego Sports Arena to watch the San Diego Clippers play (yes you young folks, they were actually in San Diego at one time). Jelly Bean Bryant was a 6’11”, slightly overweight big man on the Clipps, and I loved looking at the scoreboard that showed the word “Bean” with graphics in lights, every time he got a rebound, blocked shot, or dunked.
Of course I’d wait until after the games to get autographs, and he would always sign.
He took part of his nickname for the middle name of his son – who got his first name after a Kobe steakhouse the parents liked. And to think of all those Hollywood actors we make fun of for naming their kids things like “Apple” and “Rumor.” He was named after a steak and a jellybean. Those two don’t even go together!
Anyway, I heard something a few years ago about the father and son not getting along so well, but I knew nothing about Kobe Bryant’s relationship with his mother. That’s why this story I heard today shocked me.
Goldin Auctions, a sports-collectibles place in New Jersey, is planning to auction 100 items from Kobe Bryants career – going back to his days as a high school baller in Philly.
Pamela Bryant is now being told by Kobe’s lawyers that she can’t sell these items. They’re insisting Kobe owns the memorabilia (which wouldn’t really explain how they were in his moms possession).
This dispute has already gone to a federal court in Camden after an attorney for the auction house requested a court order to allow the sale.
Goldin Auctions gave Pamela a $450,000 advance. She supposedly wanted to buy a new home in Nevada (which is lovely this time of year). It makes you wonder why Kobe, who last signed a contract well over $100 million, didn’t just buy the house. They must not be on good terms.
Some of the items include a basketball signed by one of the Lakers teams that won a championship (with MVP Shaquille O’Neal), varsity letters Kobe had at Lower Merion High School, shorts, jerseys, and jackets. One of the items that should get a really high bid would be his NBA Championship ring. There’s also a few NBA All-Star rings (I didn’t even know players got rings for that), a 1992 Sonny Hill League Future Stars Champion Trophy, and a 1996 Gatorade National Player award.
Since his dad went from the San Diego Clippers, to the Philadelphia 76ers, to playing professional basketball in Italy (Kobe’s lucky he didn’t wasn’t named “Spaghetti”)…there’s also team jerseys from Bryant’s childhood in that country. They’re hoping bidders will be tempted by the fact that it’s “the earliest known Kobe Bryant game-worn jersey ever offered at auction.”
Now, the statement Pamela released cracked me up. She said that these collectibles have been in her possession for over 15 years. That’s believable. What isn’t is that she said over the last five years, it’s cost her $1,500 per month in storage fees. Well, she goes to the wrong storage places. I’m guessing if you gave me 10 jerseys, a few rings and trophies…I could fit them all in one or two boxes in my garage.
I also think it’s amusing when lawyers get involved, and statements come out that make you scratch your head. Pamela said her son gave her these items, stating “Here mom, these are for you.”
I can guarantee you that never happened. Think about it. If you have a kid that’s played little league, and you have his old uniforms and trophies in the garage…maybe you don’t get rid of them for sentimental reasons. The kid never says to you when he goes off to college “Dad…you keep that uniform from when I was on the Youth Yankees team. They’re yours. Oh and mom…I know you loved that drawing I did on construction paper, and that picture with glued macaroni on it…but these trophies and rings, they’re for you.”
Nothing is usually said about items like that. Parents just hang on to them. Now, what I’ve always wondered about when it comes to collectibles is – when are we going to see a Major League baseball player who’s tearing it up in the league, and a family member tries to sell one of those baseball cards. You know those baseball cards…the ones the Little League teams take with the team photos. You order 10 of them, sending one to grandma, a few to cousins, etc. One of these days, an MVP player is going to have cards like this come out, and they’ll be way more valuable than the Topps “rookie cards” that collectors go nuts over. This is a card from their youth, with only 10 in existence! And having one autographed, by a child with horrible writing, would be even better (although the card collectors debate autograph collectors on this – ANY writing on a baseball card makes it worth less, even if it’s autographed by the person on the card).
U.S. District Judge Renee Bumb hasn’t set a date for her decision on the auction firm’s request, which claims their client could lose the 20% commission and advance payment. And with the 900 items from Kobe Bryant’s career – this stuff might fetch around $2 million.
With the Lakers being eliminated from the Playoffs, while Kobe Bryant was injured – you gotta wonder if when Bryant takes that boot off his ankle, he’s going to think twice as the Lakers trainer walks off with it.