Sports Illustrated On Former L.A. Sparks Coach Joe "Jellybean" Bryant's 'Latest Last Chance'

When last WNBA fans saw former Los Angeles Sparks coach Joe Bryant, he was coming off of a tirade that got him tossed from a late-season game with the team's playoff hopes on the line (as so beautifully captured by Craig Bennett).

Since leaving the Sparks, Bryant has moved on to coaching the Bangkok Cobras of the recently founded AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League. Sport Illustrated's Chris Ballard did a feature on Bryant's career and relationship with his more well-known son Kobe in their latest issue.

When Joe was named head coach of the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks late in the 2005 season, Kobe eventually came around to see his father, hugging him in public and bringing his two young daughters to games. "Dads and kids fight," Joe told his assistant, Michael Abraham, by way of explaining the rift now mended. "It just so happens that he's Kobe."

Joe lasted only a year and a half in that job, just as he lasted only a season or two in so many before and after. Abraham still isn't sure why. He has only good things to say about Joe -- "the most pleasant mentor-slash-coach I've ever worked for." Christi Thomas, a forward/center on the Sparks, adds, "I can't tell you how much [Joe] meant to me. He's one of the few coaches who believed in me, nurtured my confidence and made me believe I could be and do anything."

The article is actually more an examination of where Kobe Bryant gets his "burning need for success" from and Ballard notes that, "When Kobe was 14 years old he tried to dunk on his mom in a backyard game, and she leveled him with a forearm. Kobe said, 'She would drop you. Oh, yeah, she was rough. My mom’s the feisty one. She has that killer in her.'"

Click here to read the full article at SI.com. For more on the Sparks' hire of Bryant, see last year's post.

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