Los Angeles Lakers' superstar Kobe Bryant is receiving an assistant this morning in his legal battle to permanently block his mother and an auction house from selling more than $1.5 million worth of his personal memorabilia to the public in June.
Sharia Washington, Bryant's sister, filed a May 11 declaration that states their mother, Pamela Bryant, has been determined to cash in on the NBA player's success by selling his belongings, according to records inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse.
Though Washington says she has "never been privy" to discussions between her mother and Bryant about ownership of the memorabilia, she wants U.S. District Court Judge Andrew J. Guilford to know that her mom "frequently" talked "about how the family can make money on items associated with Kobe."
The Laker, who is reportedly worth more than $200 million, lives in a gated Newport Coast community and often uses a helicopter for traffic-defeating transportation, has filed lawsuits to block his mother and Kennth Goldin, owner of Goldin Auctions, LLC, from selling items such as high school basketball team jerseys, medals, trophies, rings and net pieces from memorable, youthful victories.
Goldin, who has already paid Pamela Bryant an advance of $450,000, claims he can sell the memorabilia on her behalf because she is the rightful owner of the items.
To bolster his case, Goldin noted in legal briefs that Pamela has been paying $1,500 a month for five years to house the items in a West Berlin, New Jersey storage facility because "Kobe Bryant indicated to her and that he had no interest in them."
Kobe, who wants his memorabilia to belong to his children, rejects the assertion and now points to his sister's declaration that their mother can't be trusted, according to court records.
"For a number of years I have stored memorabilia from Kobe's music career in the garage of my Las Vegas residence," Washington said in the sworn, one-page declaration. "My mother, Pamela, noted that I 'need to keep that, because it will be worth something.' I recently returned all of that memorabilia to Kobe because my mother has access to my garage and I fear that she would try to sell that memorabilia."
In another example cited in her filing, Washington claims her mother encouraged her to get Kobe to sign an Olympic basketball t-shirt so it would increase in value and she could sell it.
Joseph Bryant, Kobe's father and a retired professional basketball himself, backs his wife's version of reality.
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Guilford is scheduled today to hear arguments from the auction house that the lawsuit belongs in New Jersey and that Bryant is not entitled to additional injunctive relief.
According to court records, Bryant's parents want additional income to help pay for a new home in Las Vegas.