During the celebration of life memorial in honor of Kobe Bryant, a frustrated fan posted some photos of the late Lakers player with his parents, Joe and Pam Bryant, and lamented that they were not more included. Following a surprise performance from Beyoncé, the memorial service continued with Bryant's wife Vanessa delivering a heartbreaking eulogy for her husband and their 13-year-old daughter Gianna, both of whom perished in a tragic helicopter crash on Jan. 26. Many other sports figures went on to deliver speeches as well, but Bryant's other family members were noticeably not involved in the service itself.
I watched the celebration of life for Koba Bryant and Gigi Bryant and my heart hurts for Kobe’s parents Joe Bryant #joebryant and Pam Bryant #pambryant. No one acknowledged his parents, his sisters, nieces or nephews. What a shame! Koba parents raised him to be who he became. pic.twitter.com/1XIRnfaTSO— Shatisha Williams (@willia1Shatisha) February 25, 2020
This could be due to the reports that Bryant did not have a very close relationship with his parents for a long time, as their relationship became strained around the time he decided to marry Vanessa.
In 2003, the Orlando Sentinel reported that Bryant's parents opted not to attend their son's wedding to then-18-year-old Vanessa, as they were said to be disapproving that he was getting married at the age of 21.
There were also reports that Bryant alleged his father was upset with the fact that Vanessa is Latina, claiming that his parents wanted him to marry a black woman. Joe publicly addressed his issues with his son, saying, "Once he decided to get married, it's his life now."
The relationship between Bryant and his parents became even more strained in 2013, after Bryant said that Joe and Pamela tried to auction off over $1 million worth of their son's memorabilia. Bryant had his lawyers issue a cease and desist letter to stop the auction from happening.0comments
Bryant eventually addressed his troubled relationship with his parents. While speaking in an interview with ESPN, he explained that he was not on speaking terms with them. "Our relationship is s—," he told the outlet. "I say [to them], 'I'm going to buy you a very nice home, and the response is 'That's not good enough'?"
While Bryant spent spent many of his adult years disconnected from his parents, he is said to have had a good relationship with his sisters, and reportedly in the process of reconciling with his mother and father ahead of his death.