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Tuesday, December 16, 2003
Updated: December 18, 5:12 PM ET
Father insists he and Kobe not estranged

Associated Press

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Kobe Bryant's father spoke out about his son's assault case Tuesday, saying the NBA star is an intelligent man who will "get through" charges that he assaulted a 19-year-old Colorado woman.

"He's a special young man, I mean, he's very worldly, very intelligent, and I think he'll get through all this," Joe "Jellybean" Bryant told KCAL-TV.

Bryant, coach of the Las Vegas Rattlers of the American Basketball Association, spoke to the television station before a game against the Long Beach Jam.

Bryant also discounted media reports saying he and his son had been estranged because he did not approve of his son's marriage.

"She's a lovely young lady and we're very happy (for her) to be our daughter," he said of Kobe's wife, Vanessa.

Bryant, 25, is charged with attacking a woman last June at a Colorado resort where she worked. He has said the two had consensual sex.

The Lakers guard is scheduled to appear in an Eagle, Colo. courtroom on Friday for a pretrial hearing.

Bryant's father, a former NBA player himself, said he and his son talk every day and that he continues to give his son fatherly advice.

"I wouldn't be doing my job if I wasn't Daddy," he said, smiling.