Kobe Bryant, 41, tragically died in a helicopter accident in Calabasas, California, on January 26, as reported by TMZ. According to ESPN reporter Ramona Shelburne, there were eight other people were traveling with the retired NBA star. Nobody on board survived.
While the cause of the crash is under investigation, it’s been confirmed that Bryant’s wife, Vanessa Bryant, was not on board. However, one of Kobe and Vanessa’s four daughters, Gianna, 13, was killed in the crash. Kobe’s parents Pamela Cox Bryant and Joe Bryant were not on board.
Pam, who married husband Joe Bryant in 1975, raised Kobe, arguably one of the greatest NBA players of all time, and their two daughters, Sharia and Shaya. While the family was close growing up and through most of Kobe’s career, they had a huge falling out in 2013 after the family tried selling his memorabilia behind his back. Joe and Pam were not present for Kobe’s final NBA game before he retired. They were not invited.
Here’s what you need to know about Pam Bryant:
Pam Bryant Refused To Attend Kobe & Vanessa’s Wedding...
Pam & Joe Bryant Had A Huge Falling Out With Their Son After They Tried Selling Memorabilia Behind Kobe’s Back
After Bryant sued Goldin Auctions, the brokerage company Joe and Pam used, they came to an agreement a week before his case was set to go to trial in New Jersey.
His parents issued the following statement after trying to sell nearly $500,000 worth of Kobe’s memorabilia: “We regret our actions and statements related to the Kobe Bryant auction memorabilia. 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 said of his sisters, whom he decided to cut off financially, “They’re very smart, college-educated [women]. I’m really proud of them. They were able to get their own jobs, get their own lives, take care of themselves. Now they have a better sense of self, of who they are as people, instead of being resentful because they were relying on me.”
Kobe Wrote In His ‘Letter To My Younger Self’ Not To Give Money To His Family Or Allow His Parents To Be His Managers
Following his retirement in 2016, Kobe penned a letter published in The Players’ Tribune, warning his 17-year-old self to “invest” in family and friends, but do not “give” to them.
Kobe continued, “The most important advice I can give to you is to make sure your parents remain PARENTS and not managers. Before you sign that first contract, figure out the right budget for your parents — one that will allow them to live beautifully while also growing your business and setting people up for long-term success. That way, your children’s kids and their kids will be able to invest in their own futures when the time comes.”
Pam & Joe Bryant Did Not Attend Kobe’s Retirement Ceremony With The Los Angeles Lakers
“I want to say, thank you so much for tonight,” Kobe said. “But it’s not about my jerseys that are hanging up there for me. It’s about the jerseys that were hanging up there before. Without them, I couldn’t be there today. They inspired me to play the game at a high level: Magic [Johnson], Cap [Kareem Abdul-Jabbar], Shaq pushing me every day. [Elgin] Baylor. [Walt] Chamberlain. [Gail] Goodrich. [Jerry] West. [James] Worthy. It goes on and on.”
Kobe also thanked his daughters, mentioning that even though they were born into a world of privilege, he will expect them to work hard in life.
You guys know that if you do the work, you work hard enough, your dreams come true. But hopefully, what you get from tonight is the understanding that those times when you get up early and you work hard, those times when you stay up late and you work hard, those times when you don’t feel like working, you’re too tired, you don’t want to push yourself, but you do it anyway, that is actually the dream. That’s the dream. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. And if you guys can understand that, then what you’ll see is you won’t accomplish your dreams. Your dreams won’t come true. Something greater will, and if you guys can understand that, then I’m doing my job as a father.