Kobe Bryant may have had a rocky relationship with his parents, but they received nothing but love during his emotional “Celebration of Life” Monday morning.
Bryant’s parents Joe and Pamela Bryant were in attendance for the emotional memorial service at Staples Center for their son and grand-daughter Gianna Bryant.
Though Kobe hadn’t spoken to his parents in several years, the grieving parents were supported by Kobe’s friends at the event. Lakers legend Magic Johnson was seen crying as he gave Pam a gigantic hug. Another Lakers alum, Derek Fisher, was seen warmly greeting Joe as the arrived at the Staples Center, sitting right by a stage covered in stunning flowers.
Shaquille O’Neal also acknowledged Kobe’s parents and sisters Sharia and Shaya from the podium when he spoke about his good friend and former teammate.
According to reports Kobe’s widow Vanessa Bryant welcomed Joe and Pam to the celebration of life with open arms to mourn as a family. Kobe’s parents were seated on the opposite side in the same row as Vanessa who was sitting by her mother, Sofia. Sitting next to Vanessa was their eldest daughter, Natalia, as well as Vanessa’s sister, Sophie.
Pam and Joe haven’t spoken publicly about the loss of Kobe and 13-year-old Gigi,died on Jan. 26 along with seven other victims after a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.
Kobe’s relationship with his parents became strained in 2013 after Pam attempted to auction off some memorabilia from his early career for $500,000, according to ESPN. Kobe got a court order to stop the auction, and his parents publicly apologized in a statement: “We apologize for any misunderstanding and unintended pain we have caused our son and appreciate the financial support he has provided over the years.”
But the damage was already done, and Kobe told the outlet in 2016 that he hadn’t spoken to either of his parents since the incident.
Kobe’s father Joe, aka “Jellybean,” was a former professional basketball player and also coached basketball.