We all know that Kobe Bryant’s dad, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, is a former NBA player and that he coaches anywhere in the world because he loves basketball. It’s where Kobe gets most of his basketball genes from, even if hooping does run in his mom’s blood as well.
But that’s not the only thing that runs in her blood. According to Kobe, she’s the reason for his competitive streak, even going so far as to hack him when he tried to dunk on her as a 14-year-old. From Chris Ballard’s fantastic look at the Bryant family in Sports Illustrated:
So where does the son’s legendary competitive drive come from? Watch Pam Bryant at her husband’s games. When Joe gets too into it, barking at the refs, she stares him down and wags a finger, lest he get a foolish T. When Pam played basketball as a girl, she used to hound boys on the court. Later, in family games, she never shied from contact. Once, when Kobe was 14 and he tried to dunk on her in a backyard game, she leveled him with a forearm. “She would drop you,” says Kobe. “Oh, yeah, she was rough.”
Well, this certainly explains that flagrant foul on Kenneth Faried last night. He get it from his momma.
And it kind of explains a lot of other things, too. If a kid grows up in a household where the dad is an NBA player and the mom takes ball so seriously she’ll knock her own son down if he tries to dunk on her, that kid is probably going to end up pretty driven to be a basketball player, barring an unforeseen catastrophic injury from a motherly undercut. This kind of covers both sides of the nature versus nurture spectrum. Basketball genes plus tough love equalling legendary NBA player is something that is easy to comprehend.
Plus, this means Kobe Bryant tried to dunk on his mom when he was a kid. That is a pretty Kobe thing to do. After the hard foul, I’m guessing he took the next four shots, even though his sisters were open. Some things never change.