Joe and Pamela Bryant were seen front and center with their two daughters and Kobe sisters, Sharia and Shaya Bryant, but none of them were really acknowledged and nobody spoke during the ceremony at Staples Center.
They all listened as widow Vanessa Bryant spoke bravely as she gave a heartbreaking eulogy for her late husband and 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
Many fans wondered why Kobe’s parents didn’t speak during the event, and it led to an uproar as fans went back and forth with why it may not have happened.
Sharia Bryant seemed to answer them all as she took to her Instagram story and simply wrote, “I don’t owe you shit” which appears to be a shot at everybody pondering things about them.
The Los Angeles Lakers star was often vocal about his issues with his parents, including a falling out with them over him marrying Vanessa in 2001. Neither parents showed up to the wedding, but they would soon reconcile when Joe joined the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks as a coach.
Everything was good until 2013 when Joe and Pamela attempted to auction off a large collection of memorabilia from Bryant’s career, including a pair of Lakers championship rings from 2000 that he had gifted them.
That led to a lawsuit from Kobe and an eventual public apology from Joe and Pamela.
“We regret our actions and statements related to the Kobe Bryant auction memorabilia,” they said in a statement at the time. “We apologize for any misunderstanding and unintended pain we have caused our son and appreciate the financial support he has provided over the years.”
In 2016, Kobe told ESPN he had not spoken to his parents in 3 years and they were not present at his final game at Staples Center, nor were they acknowledged.
“Our relationship is shit,” Bryant tells ESPN writer Ramona Shelburne. “I say [to them], ‘I’m going to buy you a very nice home, and the response is ‘That’s not good enough’?” he says. “Then you’re selling my shit?”
However, things appeared to be on the mend in the months leading to Kobe’s death.
Family friend and former coach, Wayne Slappy, told the Daily Mail that bryant and Joe were seen hugging at an event.
“I just remember being with him up at his camp in Santa Barbara and seeing him hug his dad,” Slappy, told the outlet. “You know how they loved each other from how they looked at each other, how they smiled.”
“His family are going to miss him more than you can begin to imagine,” Slappy added.
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