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Kobe Bryant hugging his father, Joe Bryant.

Kobe Bryant: Amidst Strained Relationship Questions, Joe Bryant's 'Son is Gone'

Gettyimages | Stephen Dunn
By Alyssa McCraw

The subtle appearance of Kobe Bryant's parents at his public memorial service on Monday has been a subject of speculation. Joe and Pam Bryant will celebrate 40 years of marriage this year, but it's highly unlikely that the year 2020 will go without remembrance of their son and granddaughter who both lost their lives during a tragic helicopter crash on January 26th. Many social media participants have wondered by Joe and Pam did not provide their own public sentiments, but an ESPN commentator has set the record straight.

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Pam Bryant, Kobe Bryant's mother.
Gettyimages | Ronald Martinez

"It is important to remember that he had a mother and a father and two sisters who lost their son and their brother," Mr. Stephen A. Smith shared. "No matter what went on, whatever tension existed, whatever the case may be, look at Joe Bryant's face when the cameras were on him yesterday. Look at the pain in that man's eyes...his son is gone."

Even though he didn't speak to the 20,000 people who gathered at the Los Angeles STAPLES Center, Mr. Bryant did speak on the Scoop B Radio podcast just days prior to the big event.

Joe Bryant and Kobe Bryant.
Gettyimages | Noel Vasquez

Mr. Bryant recollected the days when he raised his only son overseas before returning to Pennsylvania, as well as how the basketball court aided in forming Kobe into the legend he was to become.

"As parents, we try to give our kids advice just to stay focused, work hard and those types of things that you been through…so that's the advantage."

After addressing Mr. Bryant, Mr. Smith continued to speak on the somber yet inspiring memorial service - especially the beautiful eulogies delivered by Kobe's now-widowed wife, Vanessa.

Vanessa Bryant, Natalia Bryant, Kobe Bryant, and Gianna "Gigi" Bryant.
Gettyimages | Stephen Dunn

"Nothing compares to the loss that she has suffered along with her children," Smith said, referring to Vanessa's other three daughters - Natalia (17), Bianka (3) and Capri (8 months). While the youngest two were likely in hands of loving child care, their eldest daughter Natalia was in attendance for the service.

"[Vanessa,] as his wonderful wife, no longer has a husband nor her daughter, and the loss that she has suffered, it can't be measured. It's incredibly heart-wrenching."

Vanessa Bryant and Kobe Bryant.
Gettyimages | J. Emilio Flores

"I don't know how on earth she mustered up the strength in front of 20,000 people and speak as eloquently and beautifully about Kobe and Gigi. It was unbelievable."

During her aforementioned eulogies, Vanessa recalled a time when Kobe gifted her the famous, actual blue dress that Rachel McAdams wore in The Notebook. Karyn Wagner, the designer who created the dress, told The Hollywood Reporter that she "started bawling" after hearing Vanessa's words.

"I’m still drying the tears off my face," she said. "What a beautiful eulogy. I’m so honored that I was able to contribute in some small way to the history of this amazing man.”

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