A settlement has been reached by Kobe Bryant and his parents over a deal struck between Bryant's mother and a New Jersey auction house to sell hundreds of the Lakers star's personal items, according to multiple reports.
ESPN.com and the Associated Press report that the settlement will save a vast majority of Bryant's items, several of which date to his days as a high school star, from the auction block and that his parents issued a public apology for their actions.
The agreement allows the sale of six items, which Goldin Auctions president Ken Goldin told ESPN.com on Monday morning he is confident still can sell for more than $500,000 combined.
Bryant's parents, who had contracted with Goldin to sell the items, apologized in a written statement.
"We regret our actions and statements related to the Kobe Bryant auction memorabilia," Joe and Pamela Bryant said in the statement provided by a publicist. "We apologize for any misunderstanding and unintended pain we have caused our son and appreciate the financial support he has provided over the years. We also apologize to Goldin Auctions for their inadvertent involvement in this matter and thank them for their assistance."
Included in the auction will be two of Bryant's high school uniforms and two rings celebrating the 2000 Lakers championship team that were gifted at the time to Bryant's parents. ... Bidding will start June 17 and close July 19.
The dispute became public in May after Bryant's mother, Pamela Bryant, received $450,000 from Goldin Auctions in exchange for hundreds of Bryant's personal items that she had been storing for him. Shortly after the auction was announced, Bryant maintained that his parents had no right to auction off his belongings and that he wasn't aware of their intentions.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Pamela Bryant took the money so that she could purchase a house in Nevada. A lawyer for Bryant reportedly contacted the New Jersey-based auction house in May with a cease-and-desist letter that requested that the auction, which was already being marketed on GoldinAuctions.com, be halted.
"Mr. Bryant's personal property has ended up in the possession of someone who does not lawfully own it," said Kobe Bryant's attorney, Mark Campbell. "We look forward to resolving this legal matter through the legal system."
The Associated Press reported that Goldin Auctions, which reached an agreement with Pamela Bryant for the items back in January, wanted to continue with the auction and sued Kobe Bryant in response to his cease-and-desist.
A New Jersey auction house filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Camden on Thursday for the right to sell the stuff after the NBA star's lawyers wrote the firm telling it to cancel a planned June auction.
In its court filings, Goldin says Pamela Bryant told the auction house that she asked her son five years ago what he wanted to do with the items that were in her home.
"Kobe Bryant indicated to Pamela Bryant that the items belonged to her and that he had no interest in them,'' the auction house's attorneys wrote. So she put them in a $1,500-per-month New Jersey storage unit.
Kenneth Goldin, owner of the auction house, says he can't cancel the auction because he's already advanced $450,000 to Bryant's mother and put money into advertising the auction.
Meanwhile, ESPN.com reported that Pamela Bryant only sought to auction the items after her son refused to provide her with the money to purchase the home she wanted.
A source told ESPN that Kobe Bryant offered to pay his mother up $250,000 toward a home she wanted. She refused, saying she wanted $450,000. When Kobe Bryant turned her down, the source said that unbeknownst to Kobe Bryant she struck a deal to get the $450,000 advanced through the auction company.
The source said Kobe Bryant was unaware that his memorabilia was being auctioned until hours before the auction company released the news of the sale. Sources close to Kobe Bryant confirmed to ESPNLosAngeles.com that before learning about the auction through news reports, the Lakers star has given his parents "millions of dollars in financial assistance" throughout his 17-year career.
So what exactly was at the center of this dispute between mother and son? Goldin Auctions announced the "The Bryant Collection" back in May, providing these details in a press release.
The centerpiece of The Bryant Collection: presented by Goldin Auctions is a road maroon Lower Merion High School (LMHS) #24 basketball uniform (shorts and jersey) from Bryant's freshmen year. This uniform is special in that he only wore #24, as a freshman, before switching to #33 for the remainder of his high school career. It is believed to be the only authentic game worn #24 Kobe Bryant LMHS jersey in existence. The next time he wore a #24 jersey was when he switched his NBA number to it after the 2005-06 NBA season. When he finally removes #24 from his back, it will hang in the rafters alongside, Wilt, Kareem, Magic and Shaq.
In addition to offering one fortunate collector the chance to own this rare #24 uniform, The Bryant Collection also includes two complete #33 LMHS uniforms (shorts and jersey) worn by Bryant during his high school career. One uniform is in the home white and the other is the road maroon.
The six rings in the collection include: a 1996 High School McDonald's All-American ring; 1996 High School State Championship ring; 1998 and 2000 NBA All-Star rings; plus a team issued Kobe Bryant 2000 Lakers championship ring given by Kobe to his father Joe Bryant and a specially designed version for his mother Pamela Bryant.
Here's the original GoldinAuctions.com promotional artwork for the collection, which includes shots of Bryant's jerseys, medals, trophies, and rings.