Friday, August 12, 2022

The Journal of Steffanie Rivers: Kobe Bryant’s In-Laws Fighting Over His Money

*There’s a lot of conversation in the Black community about using our collective power to demand what’s rightfully owed to us.

Whether that comes in the form of monetary reparations from the federal government, using our political power to pass favorable legislation and to stop legalized genocide done by bully, liar, killer cops. Most of the time the conversation focuses on getting what’s owed to us!

What about millionaire Black people who create generational wealth, but get involved in interracial marriages? Marrying the wrong person can be just as detrimental as never creating wealth.

When NBA legend Kobe Bryant was killed last January in a helicopter crash with eight other people – one of those people being his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna – I had planned to wait a respectful amount of time before I mentioned the fact that Kobe’s multi-million dollar empire was going to be under the control of his Latina wife, Vanessa, after his death. The chance of the wealth he created as a professional athlete and a successful businessman after he retired being used to improve the Black community went from slim to none, because of who he chose to marry.

Due to the corona-virus pandemic I forgot about it. Then came recent news about the family feud between Kobe’s widow and his mother-in-law over that multi-million dollar empire Bryant left behind after his unexpected death.

DID U C THIS: Doc Rivers and the LA Clipper Part Ways After ‘Mutual’ Decision

Kobe speaks to wife daughrt & mom-in-law - Getty - 33481448-8759931-image-a-6_1600780209399
It is not clear what may have caused the apparent rift between Bryant and her mom, who was spotted regularly with the family when Kobe and Gianna were alive. Sofia is with the Bryants supporting Kobe at a 2015 game

Kobe’s mother in law, Sophia Laine, did a videotaped interview accusing her daughter, Kobe’s widow, of throwing her out of the house and re-possesing the car they had gifted her. Vanessa claimed, for the past 20 years she and Kobe had been paying her mother a monthly stipend, paid for an apartment for her mom to live in and a car for her mom to drive. But let’s be clear about one thing: Whatever money Vanessa’s mom was living on was Kobe’s money. A Black man’s money!

When Kobe met Vanessa she was still in high school. They met on the set of a video shoot. He already was a pro-baller, about 20 years old. When they got married she was fresh out of high school – not college – high school! She went from her mother’s house to Kobe’s mansion.

Although Vanessa’s mom might have approved of her teen-aged daughter marrying a Black man with millions of dollars, Kobe’s parents did not approve. At 21, Kobe’s parents, Joe and Patricia Bryant, thought he was too young for marriage. And they did it without a prenuptial agreement. She had nothing to offer him but a cute face and a slim waist. He had, well, everything to offer her. That’s not to say she was a gold digger, because Gold diggers come in all cultures and colors. I don’t know either of them personally.

I just want us to keep in mind that when we become fortunate enough to create enough money that can be considered as generational wealth, we should be more discriminate about who we marry and who we have babies with. Kobe and Vanessa had four children together.

Even though they were married for about 20 years before he was killed. Kobe’s relationship with his parents became distant after he married Vanessa. That probably turned out to be detrimental to Kobe in his remaining years, and it possibly kept Vanessa from having a better respect for African-American culture and the importance of generational wealth in our community. It’s the consequence of committing to inter-racial relationships.

And if you’re someone with celebrity status you have to ask yourself if your significant other wants you for what you have or for who you are? If you’re unsure keep looking. If you are serious about created generational wealth for your family or your community make sure your significant other feels the same way and will respect your wishes once you pass on.

Steffanie Rivers (screenshot1)
Steffanie Rivers

Steffanie Rivers is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. Email her at with comments, questions or speaking inquiries. Friend her on Facebook/StefanieRivers. Follow her on Twitter @tcbstef and on Instagram@tcbstef




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