Kobe Bryant Enters Legal Battle with Mother Over Auction Worth $1.5 Million
Kobe Bryant has some legal drama with his momma.
UPDATE: Saturday, May 4 at 1:45 p.m. ET
According to Kobe's Twitter feed, the Lakers' star is taking this whole thing very personally:
---End of update---
The Philadelphia Inquirer's Jane M. Von Bergen reports on a cease-and-desist letter Bryant's legal team sent to Goldin Auctions L.L.C. of West Berlin—an auction house that was set to sell off a reported $1.5 million worth of Bryant memorabilia his mother claims ownership to.
The 42 items of merchandise, which include several Lower Merion uniforms worn by the player and two 2000 Lakers Championship rings designed for his parents, were to go up for auction in June, each authenticated as genuine by Pamela Bryant.
In a tale of what can happen when adult children move on but leave behind their "treasures," Goldin filed suit asking the judge to clarify ownership of the memorabilia and clear the way for the auction.
She was contacted by Goldin and assured the auction house that she was the rightful owner of the memorabilia and the auction should proceed as planned—an understandable response, as the report issues: "Pamela Bryant has received a pre-auction consigning fee of $450,000 and has used it to buy a house."
The auction company that is suing for a clear determination of the product's ownership released a statement by their founder, Ken Goldin: "Normally, items like these can only be viewed in a museum or the Hall of Fame. We are honored to be able to make these offerings to collectors around the world."
While Bryant has yet to speak publicly on the matter, his legal team, headed by Mark Campbell, released a brief statement: "Mr. Bryant's personal property has ended up in the possession of someone who does not lawfully own it."
According to the report, Pamela asked her son's wife, Vanessa Bryant, if she wanted the items back about seven to eight years ago. When Vanessa declined, Pamela moved the items to West Berlin, insuring them in a secure location for $1,500 a month. The report also states Bryant's mother is adamant that her son never asked for the items to be returned, nor did she take them without his permission.
Her side of the story is a compelling one. The mother, as it seems, put up a great deal of money to store items for her son, apparently never asking for recompense.
But doesn't Bryant have some say in whether his past is sold off?
There is something to be said for asking before you sell off a piece of personal history. I am sure many of you have awards, medals and fond childhood mementos that clutter a parent's house, or once did.
Of course, most of us surely never thought to ask a parent not to auction them off. We can't all be NBA superstars—a fact that would make said items valuable beyond imagination.
The report states Pamela is hoping to net the $1.5 million to buy a house in Nevada. So, while parents usually hold onto these items out of fond remembrance and affection, there is very real monetary value to be had here.
Who do you think the memorabilia belongs to?
Von Bergen also offers that mother and son have had a tumultuous past and reminds us neither parent was at their son's wedding.
While Bryant has yet to comment and will more than likely keep a tight lid on the proceedings from here on out, we can assume this will be a long, drawn-out battle. Kobe is as stubborn as any on the court, and that mentality likely follows him off the hardwood.
The report issues Bryant's legal team must answer the Goldin suit by Wednesday, just a few short days before Mother's Day.
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