A California judge has issued a temporary restraining order that effectively puts a planned auction of Kobe Bryant memorabilia on hold. U.S. District Judge Andrew Guilford has ruled in favor of the Lakers' star in a dispute over who owns jerseys, awards and other items that were scheduled to be sold by Goldin Auctions next month. Bryant's mother, Pamela had consigned them after she says they'd been sitting in storage for years.
A conference on the matter was scheduled for Monday to determine if a preliminary injunction should be issued.
The case has been playing out in courtrooms on both coasts. Bryant wrote in a declaration filed in U.S. District Court in New Jersey Wednesday that he called his mother last Thursday after learning of the auction and told her ‘Mom, you know I never told you that you could have the memorabilia.’
Bryant called that claim untrue, saying he and his wife had asked for the return of his old high school jerseys and awards several years ago. His attorneys sent a 'cease and desist' letter to Goldin last week, but the auction company maintained Pamela Bryant had a right to sell what she said was essentially abandoned property.
Pamela Bryant maintains she'd faithfully stored more than 100 items once given to her son, paying $1,500 per month in storage unit rental after the former Pennsylvania high school star failed to collect them. Finally, she says she figured he no longer wanted them and in December of last year decided to liquidate them through the auction house, which announced the sale in a news release.
The auction also includes championship jewelry Kobe Bryant gave to his parents, ownership of which the 34-year-old star is not contesting.
Bryant now says in his declaration that the items are of "tremendous sentimental value" and that he'd planned on giving them to his children.
"No amount of money can compensate me for the loss of my unique, irreplaceable property, gathered over a decades-long basketball career."