See the update on page 2 about a judge issuing a temporary restraining order preventing a New Jersey auction house from auctioning off Kobe Bryant memorabilia.
ORIGINAL POST, MAY 7, 4:21 P.M.: Injured and shut out of the playoffs, this likely isn't the way Kobe Bryant hoped to spend his time on the mend: going to court to stop the auction of memorabilia he'd left with his mother. But with Goldin Auctions having sued the Lakers superstar in federal court in New Jersey over claims he's interfering with its sale of his memorabilia for which it paid his mother a $450,000 advance, Mamba has counter-sued in Orange County Superior Court–claiming some items were illegally lifted from his Newport Coast home.
“This case concerns the illegal efforts of Goldin, a New Jersey auction house, to sell invaluable sports memorabilia owned by Kobe Bryant, including irreplaceable items from his past such as his high school basketball jerseys and state championship rings,” reads the complaint. “Mr. Bryant seeks to prevent the sale of his personal property by Goldin and to force the return of the personal property, which holds tremendous sentimental value to him.”
His mother, Pamela Bryant, is not a party in either lawsuit, but she is accused of falsely having represented to Goldin that the memorabilia was a gift to her, according to Kobe's complaint, which faults the auction house for never having consulted or given notice to the NBA superstar, who learned of the sale through a press release.
“The April 30 Press Release creates a false and misleading impression that Plaintiff was involved in the consignment of The Kobe Bryant Collection,” read the complaint, which was prepared by Kobe's lawyer, Mark Campbell of Loeb & Loeb in Los Angeles.
It continues: “In the April Press Release, Goldin claims that '[a]ll of the items have been consigned to auction by the Bryant family,' and further states that '[i]t is gratifying to once again work with the Bryant family. …' The April 30 Press Release continues with a glamorized portrayal of Goldin's supposed prior work with Plaintiff. These statements falsely insinuate that Mr. Bryant himself consigned The Kobe Bryant Collection for auction. He did not. The April 30 Press Release, and all other advertisements, solicitations and promotions concerning The Kobe Bryant Collection, were and are wholly unauthorized by Plaintiff.”
Goldin does not have the right to sell the memorabilia that is expected to fetch $1.5 million except for two items that could arguably be said to belong to the Bryant family, according to the suit.
Meanwhile, the complaint contends some items were last seen by Kobe and Vanessa Bryant in their Newport Coast home, calling into question how Goldin came to possess them. “[I]t is clear that those items were surreptitiously taken from Plaintiff residence without his permission,” state the court documents. “At no time did Plaintiff grant Goldin, or any other party, the right to possess or sell any of the items that were illegally taken from his home.”
The complaint claims that many of the items were supposed to be held by Pamela Bryant until they could be given to Kobe's own children, and that several requests had been made to the grandmother to produce them to no avail.
“The Kobe Bryant Property has tremendous sentimental value for Plaintiff and he desires to hand down his well-earned memorabilia to his children,” reads the complaint. “No amount of money can compensate Plaintiff should his unique, irreplaceable personal property, which was gathered over an illustrious, decades-long basketball career, be sold to strangers at a public auction for Goldin's monetary gain.”
With Goldin accused further of refusing to comply with a cease-and-desist order concerning the property, the ball now appears to be in the auction house's court.
UPDATE, MAY 9, 12:12 P.M.: An Orange County judge has stopped the sale of Kobe Bryant memorabilia by a New Jersey auction house, for now.
The judge signed a temporary restraining order preventing the auction from going off pending a hearing scheduled Monday, TMZ reports.