Kobe Bryant's father, "Jellybean" Joe Bryant, took in his son in a Lakers uniform for the first time in five years. Bryant was in attendance while Kobe went off for 39 points in the Lakers 95-92 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder to open a 2-0 series lead.
Kobe and Joe shared a special moment after the game when the two embraced after the Thunder's attempt at a game-tying three pointer came up short.
Joe Bryant's schedule has taken him all over the globe but Kobe's pops finally got to sit down courtside and watch his son help the Lakers take a commanding series lead.
Joe Bryant coaches Solsonica Rieti, an elite Italian League club, and thus has a schedule that runs parallel with the NBA. However, Joe gave Kobe two pearls of wisdom for the win in Game 2.
"“Make a damn free throw," Joe told his superstar son. The elder Bryant also added, “You miss shots, you make shots. Just play defense to keep yourself in a game. The offense is going to come back."
Kobe responded with a 39-point effort and a 13-for-15 effort from the free throw line.
Joe Bryant played basketball on both sides of the pond, but took his career to Italy when Kobe was six years old. The Bryant family returned to the States when Kobe was 13 years old, even though Kobe was on the Transatlantic shuttle during his summers to play ball in the U.S.
Joe Bryant played eight seasons in the ABA and NBA. Bryant was drafted 14th overall by the Golden State Warriors in the 1975 Draft, but was sold to the Philadelphia 76ers prior to the season. It was there that Kobe was born and raised while Joe finished off his career in the NBA.
Bryant played four seasons with the 76ers before he was traded to the San Diego Clippers in 1982. Prior to the 1982 season, he was traded to the Houston Rockets.
Bryant averaged 8.7 points per game in 606 career games in the NBA before heading to the Italian A1 and A2 Leagues where he played for seven additional seasons.
Joe Bryant got his first collegiate coaching gig in 1993 as an assistant coach at his alma mater La Salle University. in 2005, Bryant took the heading coach job of the Los Angeles Sparks after serving as an assistant coach there for years.
Bryant moved on to international ball in 2007-2008 when he took the head coaching job for the Tokyo Apache in Japan's BJ League. In 2009, Bryant became the head coach of his first Italian team Solsonica Rieti.
Kobe said having his father courtside for Game two against the Thunder felt like he was in high school again. Between that and his father's words of advice, it sure sounded like Kobe's sophomore year of high school when Joe coached his son at Lower Merion high school outside Philadelphia.