Joe Bryant - Updated Jul 2024

Updated On June 3, 2024
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Joe Bryant

Joe Bryant is an American former professional basketball player who is currently a coach. Joe Bryant is the father of the late American basketball prodigy, Kobe Bryant. Similarly, he played for teams like the Philadelphia 76ers, San Diego Clippers, and Houston Rockets among others. He also coached for teams like Las Vegas Rattlers, Boston Frenzy, Los Angeles Sparks, and Tokyo Apache among many other teams.

Early Life and Childhood

Joe Bryant’s full name is Joseph Washington Bryant and he was born on 19 October 1954. His current age is 66 years and his zodiac sign is Libra. Moreover, he is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. His parents’ names are not available as he prefers to keep his personal life as private as possible.

Talking about his educational background, he attended John Bartram High School and later enrolled at La Salle University, both institutions located in Philadelphia. However, there is no information about what subject he majored in and when he graduated. There also isn’t much information regarding his family and childhood. Moreover, his nickname is Jellybean.

Professional Life

Joe Bryant is an American former professional basketball player and current coach. Joe was the head coach of the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks from 22 August 2005 until 4 April 2007. He then returned to that position for the remainder of the 2011 WNBA season. He has also coached in Italy, Japan, and Thailand.

After enrolling at La Salle University, he, a 6’9″ (2.07 m) forward, Golden State Warriors drafted him in the first round in 1975. However, before the season started, he was dealt with his hometown team with whom he played for four seasons. The team was the Philadelphia 76ers. Hi’s 1976–77 Sixers team, featuring NBA all-stars Julius Erving, Doug Collins, and George McGinnis, reached the NBA finals. But sadly, they eventually lost to the Portland Trail Blazers 4 games to 2.

Later, he headed back to the West Coast when he was traded by the 76ers to the San Diego Clippers. For this team, he played from the year 1979 to 1982. In the first game of the 1979–80 season, he slam-dunked on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but despite that and a 46-point effort by Bryant’s Sixer/Clippers teammate World B. Free, who was then known as Lloyd Free, the Lakers won the game off a game-winning skyhook by Abdul-Jabbar.

After a final NBA season with the Houston Rockets in 1983, he headed to Europe. He played seven seasons in Italy with clubs in the Italian A1 League and the Italian A2 League. He also played with the Italian clubs AMG Sebastiani Rieti (1984–86), Viola Reggio Calabria (1986–87), Pistoia (1987–89), and Reggio Emilia (1989–91). Furthermore, he had 53-point games with Pistoia, in the 1987–88 season.

He continued to play into his fifties, appearing in several games for the Boston Frenzy of the fledgling American Basketball Association.


Caption: Joe Bryant #23 of the Philadelphia 76ers slam dunks against the New Jersey Nets during an NBA basketball game circa 1979 at the Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway, New Jersey. Source: Getty Images

Teams Joe Bryant Played For

  • 1975–1979 Philadelphia 76ers
  • 1979–1982 San Diego Clippers
  • 1982–1983 Houston Rockets
  • 1984–1986 AMG Sebastiani Rieti
  • 1986–1987 Standa Reggio Calabria
  • 1987–1989 Olimpia Pistoia
  • 1989–1991 Reggiana
  • 1991–1992 FC Mulhouse Basket

Coaching career

Additionally, his first coaching position was after returning from Europe. At that time, he served in the U.S. Armed Forces in Italy. In the years 1992–1993, he also served as the head coach of the women’s varsity team at Akiba Hebrew Academy in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania. Then in June 1993, he left Akiba and accepted an assistant coach position at his alma mater, La Salle University. He also served as a coach for the Diablos in the 2003 Season of SlamBall.

On 22 August 2005, he, who had been serving as the assistant coach to the Los Angeles Sparks team in the Women’s National Basketball Association, was named Head Coach of the Sparks, succeeding the previous coach Henry Bibby. Henry is also his former 76ers teammate.

During the 2006 season, he led the Sparks to a 25–9 record and a Conference Finals berth. However, in April 2007, Michael Cooper replaced him as Spark’s head coach. Michael had previously helmed the team from 1999–2004. Furthermore, he spent the 2007–08 season coaching the Tokyo Apache in Japan’s professional basketball league the Japanese BJ League.

On 3 July 2009, he signed a contract with his first Italian club, Sebastiani Rieti. Then in January 2012, he became the coach of the Bangkok Cobras in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL). He also served as the head coach of the Rising Fukuoka of the BJ League. Beyond basketball, he is also a producer. He is known for the Fathers of the Sport (2008) and The NBA on CBS (1973).

Joe Bryant

Caption: Head coach Joe Bryant of the Los Angeles Sparks talks with Candace Parker #3 (R) and teammates in the huddle during the WNBA game against the Phoenix Mercury at US Airways Center on September 3, 2011, in Phoenix, Arizona. Source: Zimbio

Teams Joe Bryant Coached

  • 2003–2004 Las Vegas Rattlers
  • 2004–2005 Boston Frenzy
  • 2006–2007 Los Angeles Sparks
  • 2007–2009 Tokyo Apache
  • 2010–2011 Levanga Hokkaido
  • 2011 Los Angeles Sparks
  • 2012 Bangkok Cobras
  • 2013 Chang Thailand Slammers
  • 2015 Rising Fukuoka

Relationship Status

Joe Bryant is a married man and his wife is Pam Cox. The lovebirds had their wedding in the year 1975. Pam is the former NBA player Chubby Cox’s sister. The couple together has three children and they are Kobe, Sharia, and Shaya. He is also the uncle of professional basketball player John Cox IV through his wife Pam.

His son, Kobe, was also a professional NBA player. Kobe had a 20-season career in the National Basketball Association with the Los Angeles Lakers. He also won five NBA championships with the same team. However, his son Kobe passed away in a tragic helicopter accident in January 2020.

Moreover, he is the grandfather of Kobe’s four daughters namely Natalia Diamante Bryant, Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, Bianka Bella Bryant, and Capri Kobe Bryant. Unfortunately, his granddaughter Gianna also lost her life at the young age of 13 due to the same accident as his son Kobe.


Caption: Joe Bryant in a photograph with his wife Pam Cox and their late son Kobe. Source: The Sun


Joe Bryant and his son Kobe did not have a very good relationship. Bryant, Pam, and their two daughters, Kobe’s longtime advisor and agent Arn Tellem, and his Lakers teammates did not attend Kobe’s wedding to Vanessa Laine. Pam and he had problems with him marrying so young, especially a woman who was not African-American. Their disagreement resulted in an estrangement period of over two years, which ended when Kobe’s first daughter was born.

The birth of Kobe’s first daughter Natalia resulted in a reconciliation between Bryant and his parents. He and Pam had a huge falling out with Kobe after they tried selling Memorabilia behind his back in 2013.

Pam received $450,000 from the auction house for the items and claimed Bryant had given her the rights to the items he had remaining in her home. However, Kobe’s lawyers asked the auction house to return the items to Bryant. Before a scheduled trial, Pamela and he apologized to Kobe in a written statement, also acknowledging the financial support Bryant had provided them in the past.

Tragic Death of son Kobe Bryant

On Sunday, 26 January 2020, Joe’s son Kobe and granddaughter Gianna tragically passed away in a helicopter crash along with seven other passengers. The accident happened in Calabasas, California, at about 9:47 a.m. where the helicopter struggled before crashing in the mountains above Calabasas in the heavy fog. It was a private helicopter that Kobe owned. It took off from John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California.

Gianna was only 13 years old and Kobe was only 41 years old when they lost their lives. All the passengers were headed to Thousand Oaks where Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy is located. As the New York Times reported, the young players were going to take part in a tournament as a part of team Mamba, and Kobe was going to coach on Sunday’s game.

Kobe also often regarded Gianna as the successor who would bring the family’s legacy in basketball to the next generation. Sadly, the tragic accident on Sunday, 26 January 2020 took away their combined dreams along with the lives of father and daughter.

Joe Bryant – Body Measurements

Talking about Joe Bryant’s body measurement stats, he stands tall at a height of 6 feet 10 inches, or 2.08 meters. Similarly, he weighs around 185 lbs, i.e. 84 kg. These are his official listed measurements. However, there is no information regarding his other body measurement stats like chest-waist-hip, biceps,  dress size, shoe size, etc. Moreover, he has black hair but is bald. Also, his eye color is black.

Social Media

Joe Bryant is not available on social media platforms.

Joe Bryant – Net Worth 2024

Moving on his net worth is estimated at around 5 million dollars. His involvement in the basketball teams as their coach heavily influences his net worth and earnings.