Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 5/10/13
We wonder why athletes abuse alcohol, self-medicate with marijuana, coke, groupies and hookers, extend/enhance their careers with PEDs, go broke shortly after they retire, and then we learn that Kobe Bryant and his mother are embroiled in a nasty lawsuit over his childhood memorabilia. She wants an "additional" home in Nevada and a $450,000 down payment. Kobe countered with a quarter of a million. She found an auctioneer willing to pony up the $450k and a million more dollars in exchange for Kobe's high school jerseys, trophies and championship rings. Kobe filed suit. Kobe vs. Pamela isn't quite Kramer vs. Kramer -- and thankfully Kobe has yet to take a page from O.J. Simpson and hire armed goons to re-steal his memorabilia -- but hashing things out in the People's Court of public opinion is no way for mom and son to spend Mother's Day weekend. "I never told my mother that she could have my personal property, let alone consign it for public auction," Bryant stated in his court filing. Over Twitter, the Black Mamba expressed his angst about the situation. When u give Give GIVE and they take Take TAKE at wat point do u draw a line in the sand? #hurtbeyondmeasure #gavemenowarning #love ? -- Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) May 4, 2013 This is the price of fame and wealth in America. We all think we want to pay this price. Many of us think these problems would never strike our families. We're wrong. The love of money and material possessions, coupled with envy, are oftentimes stronger than the unconditional love a mother initially bestows upon her children. Kobe Bryant was a child when he landed in Los Angeles straight out of a Philadelphia high school. He's now living the adult life of a former child actor. He's had trouble with the law, trouble with his wife, trouble with his Lakers co-stars, and now he and his parents are having trouble over how he spends his money. According to an ESPN.com report, Kobe has showered his parents with millions of dollars throughout his 17-year professional career, but Mr. and Mrs. Jelly Bean Bryant have their hearts set on a new, plush, additional home in Nevada. In all likelihood, Kobe Bryant can afford to buy his parents an additional home in Nevada. But that does not mean he should. Professional sports are filled with stories about the athletes who thought they'd never go broke going broke. Athletes do not go broke alone. Generally speaking, the people they love the most blow through 25 percent of the money. Worse than that is the awful feeling an athlete gets when he realizes his family members feel entitled to his money. It's that feeling that can set off depression, fuel chemical dependency and normalize personal relationships founded on finances. Why do athletes fall in love with gold diggers? Because many of the people they loved before becoming rich have turned into platonic gold diggers. When you come to believe everyone around you is digging for gold, you accept gold digging as a flaw no different from snoring, smelly farts and a partying and whoring phase in college. No one's perfect. Moms are supposed to be perfect. They're supposed to always have your back and be the one person you can trust without suspicion. Fame and money quite often change all of that. Twenty years ago, she was Pamela Bryant. Once Kobe revealed himself to be a big-time NBA prospect, Pamela got a new name -- Kobe's mom. Black Mamma is famous and wealthy and must be adorned with and in possession of all things Oprah believes famous and wealthy women must have, including additional homes. Kobe has a wife, Vanessa. She has a new name, too -- Kobe's wife. Kobe's wife has parents, too, and they have new names, also -- Kobe's mother- and father-in-law. All of these people are famous and wealthy and must be adorned with and in possession of all things Oprah believes famous and wealthy people must have. Again, in all likelihood, Kobe can provide them all what they need to feel rich and famous. But it ain't cheap. And it's tiresome, a major hassle and a drain on his Zen. The same demands are on the non-superstar athlete. Pamela Bryant isn't the only mother of a professional athlete hoping to receive a sizable down payment on an additional home this Mother's Day. What's unique here is that Kobe had the balls to say no and demand the return of his property. He might regret it on Sunday, and he'll likely be vilified by people dreaming of being a rich and famous athlete. But Kobe made the right call. When your parents act like spoiled, rotten brats, you should show them the same tough love they showed you as a child. Sit them in a corner and make them take a timeout.
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