19 February 2020 22:32
KOBE Bryant's estranged family will come together and "heal each other" in the wake of the basketball icon's tragic death, a close friend of the star has claimed. The basketball legend, 41, who died alongside daughter Gianna, 13, in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles last month, had a strained relationship with his mum Pamela and dad Joe. 9 Kobe and his parents Pamela and Joe had a rocky relationship Credit: NBAE via Getty Images 9 Kobe pictured with wife Vanessa and three of their daughters Credit: Instagram But family friend Wayne Slappy said the NBA star's widow Vanessa and his parents will put their "long term issues" aside and unite over the loss. He told Sun Online: "Love still exists - they're going to help each other heal. "I see the pain, I hear the pain, and it's going to take time. "But they're the only ones who can heal each other like that.
"They're the only ones who don't want anything else from each other, except for each other's love and respect. "So in time, it's going to be okay." Kobe leaves behind wife Vanessa, daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, three, seven-month-old Capri, his parents and sisters Sharia and Shaya. Last month, The Sun revealed that Kobe was trying to reconcile with his parents before his tragic death. Sources claim they initially fell out because Pamela and Joe didn't approve of his relationship with Vanessa and did not attend their wedding. 9 Close family friend Wayne Slappy believes the Bryant family will unite over his and his daughter's passing 9 Kobe always put wife Vanessa first during disagreements with his family, a source said Credit: AP:Associated Press 9 Three bodies have been recovered from the fiery wreck at the crash site where Kobe Bryant was killed Credit: SWNS And their relationship soured further in 2013 when Kobe's parents attempted to sell his sports memorabilia to an auction house — prompting the NBA star to file a lawsuit. But Slappy, who has been a close friend of the star's dad Joe for decades, feels that the LA Lakers legend and Gigi's spirit is guiding his kids and grandparents together. He said: "They're not here physically, but they have another presence and it's going to be all-good, that's how I see it. "So fret not, everybody, it's going to be okay.' Speaking at the Social Media Superstar Awards (SMSA), Slappy said the family will "mamba up" and that the basketball hero takes after both his parents. He said: "Absolutely. They're Bryant's. They're going to mamba up. 9 Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi were among the nine killed in a crash last month "A lot of that is his dad, a lot is his mom. His sisters helped contribute to him, and they're going to be the best things that Vanessa could have. Vanessa has already been seen with one of Kobe's sisters, Sharia, in a video posted to her Instagram one day after the family buried the basketball star. The 67-year-old basketball coach said he was "honoured" to have been close to the star. He said: "Not easy to be a goldfish in a bowl like that where everyone is looking at you and they see all of your successes. "They also see your failures and your missteps and the thing is he rose out of all of that to be the Kobe that everyone has come to love. most read in news STATE OF MIND California conservatives want to redraw borders & join Trump-loving IDAHO CHILLING MESSAGE? 3 men executed next to grave of man killed in Mexico may be 'cartel hit' Exclusive TAPED FLOWERS ON DOOR Ex who 'murdered' sex therapist had broken into her apartment BEFORE PIZZA PANIC Papa John's hepatitis A alert after employee gets contagious infection DAD FROM HELL Killer dad 'slashed sons with HATCHET, covered them in fuel and burned them' SMILE OF RELIEF NASCAR star walks out of hospital with daughters after Daytona 500 crash "I'm just honored to have been hugged by him." Last month The Sun revealed how Kobe's relatives were making "strides" to bring the family together. The source admitted before his death Kobe hoped too for reconciliation. They said: "Knowing Kobe and his heart, he was considering how to bring about a full scale reunion one day." 9 Kobe with his sisters Sharia and Shaya Credit: Chris Weeks/WireImage 9 Kobe's parents attempted to auction off some of his sporting memorabilia in 2013 Credit: Getty Images GOT a story? EMAIL [email protected]