A couple of days after the Celebration of Life memorial took place for Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant, details have resurfaced regarding the relationship that Kobe and Vanessa Bryant had with the late NBA icon's parents, Joe and Pam Bryant, as The Blast noted. According to both The Blast and the Orlando Sentinel, Kobe and his parents had a falling out years ago over the basketball player's marriage to Vanessa.
The Orlando Sentinel reported on the rift between Kobe and his father back in 2003. At the time, it was reported that Joe, who also enjoyed a career in the NBA, severed contact with his son because of his unhappiness over Kobe marrying Vanessa. While Kobe did not give any specific details about their rift, he did quietly confirm that his father was uncomfortable that Vanessa, a Latina, was not African-American and that Joe was uneasy about the Lakers icon's selfless devotion to her.
"Sure, I miss my father. Who wouldn't miss his father?" Kobe said at the time in regards to their rift.
"Once he decided to get married, it's his life now," Joe said.
Joe and Pam reportedly did not attend Kobe and Vanessa's 2001 nuptials and that, as of May 2003, Joe had not met the couple's eldest daughter, Natalia, who had been born that January. While Kobe and his parents had a tumultuous relationship over the years, it seems as though things may have improved between them after the former Laker retired from the NBA in 2016, per PEOPLE.
Kobe's former coach, Wayne Slappy, even commented on the state of the late basketball player's relationship with his parents in an interview with the Daily Mail, which was published a day after the athlete's untimely death.
“I just remember being with him up at his camp in Santa Barbara and seeing him hug his dad,” Slappy told the publication. “You know how they loved each other from how they looked at each other, how they smiled.”0comments
Entertainment Tonight reported that Joe and Pam were in attendance for the Celebration of Life memorial and that they sat in the same row as Vanessa and her eldest daughter with Kobe, Natalia. Neither Joe nor Pam spoke during the ceremony, but Vanessa did.
"God knew they couldn't be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to him together," Vanessa said about her late husband and daughter during the emotional event. "Babe, you take care of our Gigi. And I got Nati, Bibi, and Coco. We're still the best team. We love and miss you, Boo Boo and Gigi. May you both rest in peace and have fun in heaven until we meet again one day. We love you both and miss you. Forever and always. Mommy."