Joe and Pamela Bryant were seen sitting next to their two daughters and Kobe's sisters, Sharia and Shaya Bryant

By Claudia Harmata
February 25, 2020 02:25 PM
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Kobe Bryant‘s parents, Joe and Pamela Bryant, attended the emotional celebration of life held in their late son’s honor at the Staples Center on Monday.

Joe, a former NBA player, and Pamela, were seen sitting next to Kobe’s two sisters, Sharia and Shaya Bryant, while widow Vanessa bravely took the stage to give a heartbreaking eulogy for her late husband and 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.

The grieving parents were seated in the same row as Vanessa and their three granddaughters — Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and 7-month-old Capri.

Kobe and his parents were known to have had a tumultuous relationship throughout the years. The Los Angeles Lakers star was often publicly vocal about their issues.

Joe and Pamela Bryant

However, things appeared to be on the mend in the months after Kobe’s retirement in 2016 and leading up to his tragic death.

Family friend and former coach, Wayne Slappy, told the Daily Mail shortly after the fatal helicopter crash that Bryant and his father were recently seen hugging at an event and appeared to have made amends.

“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.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the fallout between Bryant and his parents dates back to his early relationship with eventual wife, Vanessa.

Vanessa Bryant/Instagram

Neither Joe nor Pamela attended the couple’s wedding in April 2001, with Kobe telling the Times in 2003 that his father was not comfortable with the pairing.

But Kobe and his father were said to have to reconciled in 2005 when Joe joined the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks as a coach.

In 2013, things became rocky yet again 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.

Kobe said his parents did not notify him of the auction and did not give them permission to sell the items, according to the New York Post, and this ultimately sparked a lawsuit that ended with a public apology from Joe and Pamela, who thanked their son for his financial support throughout his NBA career.

“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.”

Kobe’s Monday memorial also honored Gianna and the seven other victims; John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, Christina Mauser, and pilot Ara Zobayan.

Earlier this month, PEOPLE confirmed Kobe and Gianna were laid to rest. The date of disposition on death certificates obtained by PEOPLE was listed as February 7 at Pacific View Memorial Park and Mortuary in Corona Del Mar, California.