Kobe Bryant's legal dispute with his mother and a New Jersey auction house over the planned sell-off of an estimated $1.5 million worth of memorabilia ramped up a couple of notches Thursday.
First, the Los Angeles Lakers star get a temporary restraining order against New Jersey-based Goldin Auctions to prevent the opening of the auction pending a full hearing on the matter. Then, in his response to a federal lawsuit filed by auctioneer Kenneth Goldin last week, Bryant claimed he'd never given his mother Pamela Bryant — who gave her son's stuff to Goldin in exchange for a $450,000 advance she planned to put toward buying a new home in Nevada — permission to sell his items.
Kobe's filings, which reportedly "quote case law about when property can be considered abandoned after a child leaves home," reference conversations between mother and son in which the 15-time All-Star specifically told Pamela Bryant she could not shop his wares, according to Jane M. Von Bergen of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
"I never told my mother that she could have my personal property, let alone consign it for public auction," wrote Bryant, who was drafted into the NBA directly out of Lower Merion High School. [...]
On the day the suit was filed, Kobe Bryant says in his response, he received a call from his mother.
"I confronted her about her false statement that I had given my memorabilia to her," he wrote.
"I said to her, 'Mom, you know I never told you that you could have the memorabilia.'
"Her response was, 'Yes, but you never said you wanted it either.' Of course, this is untrue, since my wife and I requested that she return my memorabilia several years earlier."
Who among us hasn't had to tell a parent, verbatim, "You know I never told you that you could have the memorabilia?" We've all been here, Kobe. It's so frustrating. We know.
As amazing a sentence as "I said to her, 'Mom, you know I never told you that you could have the memorabilia'" is, it's not even the best part of the filing. That, as you might expect, has to do with the surfboard Bryant won at the 1999 Nickelodeon Teen Choice Awards. From Mike Bresnahan at the Los Angeles Times:
The Teen Choice Awards item was specifically mentioned by Bryant in Wednesday's filing.
"It was last seen by me in my personal residence," he wrote. "I do not know how my mother or Goldin obtained possession of this award but it was without my permission."
"Now, I'm not necessarily saying that my mom or the auctioneer with whom she's conspiring to rob me of my past snuck into my home and stole a giant children's-television-branded surfboard from my personal vault. But I am saying that we're reviewing the security camera footage, dusting the attic for prints and having a forensic investigator go over every inch of the the garage in search of DNA."
The next episode of this oddball saga will air May 20, when U.S. District Judge Renee Marie Bumb will hear cases made by lawyers for both sides of the suit. One can only hope it involves at least two or three more stern reprimands related to surfboards.