Goldin Auctions of West Berlin, N.J., wants to sell more than 100 items from Kobe Bryant's pro and high school days. / Goldin Auctions
WEST BERLIN, N.J. -- A South Jersey sports-collectibles firm is at the center of a family fight between basketball star Kobe Bryant and his mother.
Goldin Auctions of West Berlin wants to sell more than 100 items from the Los Angeles Lakers' pro career and his days as a high school player in suburban Philadelphia. The keepsakes - including uniforms, rings and trophies - would be offered on consignment for Pamela Bryant, the athlete's mother.
But Kobe Bryant is trying to block the planned June auction, insisting he owns the memorabilia. The dispute moved to a federal court in Camden Thursday, when an attorney for the auction house requested a court order to allow the sale.
The filing noted Goldin Auctions already has paid a $450,000 advance to Pamela Bryant, who wanted to buy a new home in Nevada.
If a judge approves the sale, bidders could compete for shorts, jerseys, jackets and varsity letters that Bryant wore at Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pa. They could vie for NBA All-Star and Championship rings, a 1996 Gatorade National Player award and a 1992 Sonny Hill League Future Stars Champion Trophy.
The lineup also would include a team jersey from Bryant's childhood in Italy, which is described as "the earliest known Kobe Bryant game-worn jersey ever offered at auction." Bryant lived in Italy when his father, Joe, a former Philadelphia 76er, played professional basketball there.
Pamela Bryant contends the collectibles have been in her possession for at least 15 years, a court filing says. It adds she stored the items in West Berlin over the past five years at a cost of $1,500 per month.
According to the filing, Pamela Bryant "indicated her son gave these items to her, stating 'Here Mom, these are for you.' "
The athlete's attorney sees it differently.
"Mr. Bryant's personal property has ended up in the possession of someone who does not lawfully own it," asserted Mark Campbell of Loeb & Loeb in Los Angeles.
Goldin's attorney, Jeffrey Cohen of Cherry Hill, N.J., could not be reached.
According to the lawsuit, Kobe Bryant's attorneys contacted Goldin Auctions Tuesday, the same day the planned auction was announced. Their cease-and-desist letter insisted the auction be canceled and the items returned to the player.
In seeking an injunction against Kobe Bryant, Goldin's attorney cited the potential loss of the advance payment to Bryant's mother, as well as the loss of a 20 percent commission on auction sales. The filing also noted Pamela Bryant still has some 900 items from her son's career with an estimated value of $1.5 million.
U.S. District Judge Renee Bumb set no date for a decision on the auction firm's request.
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Read the original story: Kobe Bryant, mom feud over N.J. auction