Meet Joe Bryant — The Late Kobe Bryant's Father Who Was Also A Pro Basketball Player

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Kobe Bryant, Joe Bryant
Entertainment And News

The world is still reeling from the tragic death of Kobe Bryant and daughter, Gianna, 13, but how is the rest of his family coping? 

Although it wasn't often that Bryant would speak out about his parents, he and his father, Joe Bryant, had a lot in common. In fact, they were both professional basketball players.

But who is Kobe Bryant's dad? He didn't live his life in the spotlight quite as much as his son did, but here's what we do know about the late NBA legend's father.

RELATED: Everything You Wanted To Know About Vanessa Bryant, Who Lost Her Husband Kobe Bryant And Daughter Gianna, In Horrifying Helicopter Accident

1. Bryant's father was seen in public this weekend for the first time since his son's death.

Joe was seen outside his home in Las Vegas, receiving flowers that had been sent to his family. At the time, he didn't speak to press, and an anonymous neighbor said that he and his wife, Pam, were grieving the loss of Kobe and Gianna privately.​

"I talked to them twice yesterday and took over food and a card, and briefly today, they are just devastated, as you can imagine," said the neighbor. "It's a private, awful moment, losing their son and granddaughter, it's just horrific. I was talking to Joe briefly the day before, we were out for a walk, it was all happy and good and talking about the gorgeous weather and then it switched in 24 hours where their lives were turned upside down."

2. It's unclear what Bryant's relationship was like with his father at the end of his life.

Reportedly, Bryant and his parents had a strained relationship in his adult life, made worse when his mother auctioned off his basketball memorabilia, allegedly without his permission. In 2016, Bryant said that his relationship with them was "s***," but reportedly, he and his father had been working on mending things at the time of his death.

“I just remember being with him up at his camp in Santa Barbara and seeing him hug his dad. You know how they loved each other from how they looked at each other, how they smiled,” NBA coach and famiily friend Wayne Slappy said.

3. Who is Bryant's dad? Joe Bryant is most known for his basketball career.

Joe is a former NBA player himself who was known as Jellybean. After his professional career as a player ended, Joe became a coach with the WNBA, coaching the Los Angeles Sparks from 2005 to 2007.

In 1975, he married Pam Bryant and aside from Kobe, they had two other children, daughters named Sharia and Shaya.

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4. He said he'll always be a fan of the Lakers.

In a 2015 interview, Joe said he was a fan of the Lakers, and not just because his son played for them.

“I still enjoy watching Lakers,” he said. "And if he’s not there, I’m still gonna watch the Lakers game because you become a fan when your child is playing for them.”

5. Bryant's parents have yet to speak out about their son's death publicly.

So far, the closest thing they've done to releasing a statement is through a neighbor in Las Vegas, who shared that they'd speak to the public eventually, but not while Bryant's death was so fresh.

"Right now they have nothing to say but they are obviously heartbroken," said the neighbor. "There will not be any comments from the family right away. At some point, the family will be reaching out but right now we are all in shock. Right now they're just trying to be a family."

6. Bryant's wife, Vanessa, recently released a statement of her own.

Last week, Vanessa broke her silence with an Instagram post, sharing her grief over the loss of her husband and daughter. 

"We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri," she wrote. "We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately. There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now." 

RELATED: What Caused Kobe Bryant's Helicopter Crash That Killed Nine People?

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Nicole Pomarico is an entertainment and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in Cosmo, Us Weekly, Refinery29, and more.

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