Baxter Holmes of the Los Angeles Times reports on Kobe Bryant’s dad Joe, aka Jellybean Bryant:

He has been in the game almost 40 years. First, as a player — eight seasons in the NBA with the 76ers, Clippers and Rockets — then as a coach, with the WNBA’s Sparks and in Japan. Now, Bryant is back with the Sparks as an assistant.

For all his travels, Bryant has never escaped his son’s shadow. Is he OK with that?

“Yeah, because he’s my son,” he says.

Bryant was estranged from Kobe after his son’s marriage to Vanessa, but Joe says they are now on pretty good terms.

One day, Bryant would like an NBA job, not as a coach, but perhaps in a player development role where he could work with young players.

But to get there, he might have to deal with a double-edged sword: his lineage. That alone can give him instant credibility.

“Absolutely, hell yeah it should, because the first thing I wanted to know was, what drills did you do with Kobe?” says former Sparks center Lisa Leslie, who was the 2005-06 WNBA most valuable player when Bryant was her head coach.

But it may lead some to question his credibility.

“They’re probably thinking, ‘Just because your son is good doesn’t make you a great coach,’” Sparks General Manager Penny Toler says.