Joseph Washington "Jellybean" Bryant (born October 19, 1954, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is a retired American professional basketball player who is now head coach of the top-level Italian club Solsonica Rieti. He had previously been head coach of the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks, where he was the head coach from August 22, 2005 until April 4, 2007. He is the father of Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant.

Pro careerEdit

After starring at La Salle University, Bryant, a 6'9" (2.07 m) forward, was drafted in the first round by the Golden State Warriors in 1975. Before the season started, though, he was dealt to his hometown team, the Philadelphia 76ers, with whom he played for four seasons. Bryant headed back to the west coast when he was traded by the 76ers to the San Diego Clippers, for whom he played from 1980-82.

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

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

Coaching careerEdit

Bryant's first coaching position after returning from Europe was in 1992-1993 as the head coach of the women's varsity team at Akiba Hebrew Academy in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania. In June 1993, Bryant left Akiba and accepted an assistant coach position at his alma-mater, LaSalle University.

On August 22, 2005, Bryant, 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 previous coach (and former 76ers teammate) Henry Bibby. During the 2006 season, he led the Sparks to a 25-9 record and a Conference Finals berth. However, in April 2007, Bryant was replaced as Sparks head coach by Michael Cooper, who had previously helmed the team in 1999-2004.

Bryant spent the 2007-08 season coaching the Tokyo Apache in Japan's professional basketball league the Japanese BJ League.

On July 3, 2009 he signed a contract with his first Italian club, Sebastiani Rieti.

Personal lifeEdit

  • Joe Bryant is married to Pamela Cox, sister of former NBA player Chubby Cox.

External linksEdit