Kobe Bryant disputes his mom's legal rights to auction off his high school memorabilia. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kobe Bryant may have left a lot of memorabilia around his mom's house, but that doesn't give her the right to auction it off, according to a lawsuit the Lakers star filed against an auction house on Thursday.
Since reports of Pamela Bryant and an auction house's plans to sell some of Bryant's high school and pro memorabilia surfaced this week, her son has taken legal action claiming he is still the rightful owner, according to Philly.com. Bryant's cease-and-desist letter to auctioneer Goldin Auctions L.L.C. of West Berlin, N.J., claims that the 42 items of merchandise including several game-worn Lower Merion High School uniforms are still his property.
Goldin Auctions has responded with a lawsuit asking a judge to clarify ownership of the memorabilia and to allow the auction.
According to the lawsuit, Pamela Bryant had been storing some of her son's memorabilia for at least 15 years - his high school uniform shorts and jerseys date back to 1994 and there's even a Sonny Hill League Future Stars Champion trophy from 1992, when he was still in middle school.
Seven or eight years ago, well after Kobe had gotten married, Pamela Bryant asked her son's wife, Vanessa, if she wanted the items. She said no - those items belonged to the past, according to the suit.
And so, five years ago, the lawsuit says, Pamela Bryant packed up the jerseys, the championship rings, and award plaques, spending $1,500 a month to store and insure them in West Berlin.
"Pamela Bryant indicated to Ken Goldin that Kobe Bryant has never demanded the return of any of the items, nor were they in any way taken from [him] without his permission," the suit says.
Pamela Bryant has received a pre-auction consigning fee of $450,000 and has used it to buy a house in Nevada, according to the lawsuit. A hearing has been set for May 20.
Kobe Bryant has had previous feuds with his mother, who reportedly refused to attend his wedding
because she and her husband thought he was too young at age 21 and because his wife, Vanessa, is not African American.