When your son grows up and moves away, what to do with all his stuff? Old basketball jerseys, tarnished high school trophies, um, a few L.A. Lakers’ championship rings?
If you’re Pamela Bryant, the mother of Lakers star Kobe Bryant, you might consider selling them for a tidy sum.
But better check with Kobe first.
In a cease-and-desist letter to Goldin Auctions of West Berlin, N.J., Bryant is seeking to block his mom’s June sale of 42 pieces of early Kobe memorabilia worth an estimated $1.5 million. He alleges the items are not hers to sell.
The auction firm responded with a lawsuit in federal court claiming the items in question are lawfully Pamela Bryant’s and that they have already paid her a pre-auction consigning fee of $450,000, which Pamela has used to purchase a house in Nevada.
Among the memorabilia up for auction are several Bryant uniforms he wore while playing for Lower Merion High school in Pennsylvania, his 1996 High School Player of the Year plaque, two NBA All-star rings and a team issued Kobe Bryant 2000 Lakers championship ring.
“Normally, items like these can only be viewed in a museum or the Hall of Fame,” said Goldin Auctions’ Ken Goldin in an April 30 news release announcing the sale. “We are honored to be able to make these offerings to collectors around the world.”
According to the suit, Pamela, 59, claims Kobe gave her the memorabilia years ago, saying, “Here mom, these are for you.”
After Kobe’s marriage, Pamela says she then asked his wife Vanessa Bryant if she or Kobe wanted any of the items back. Says the suit: “[Vanessa] replied that the items were from Kobe’s past and they did not want them.”
Says Bryant’s attorney Mark Campbell: “Mr. Bryant’s personal property has ended up in the possession of someone who does not lawfully own it. We look forward to resolving this legal matter through the legal system. There will be no further comment at this time.”
This is not the first time Kobe and his mother have not seen eye to eye. Neither of his parents attended his 2001 wedding because they are reported not to have approved of the marriage.
A hearing has been set in the case for May 20.