‘Parent Level’: Legendary Lakers Announcer Remembers the Time He Helped Kobe Bryant and His Wife Vanessa

Published 10/15/2021, 10:28 PM EDT
NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 23: Vanessa Bryant, former NBA Player Kobe Bryant, Natalia Bryant and Gianna Bryant attend the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival’s Tribeca Talks: Storytellers: Kobe Bryant with Glen Keane at BMCC Tribeca PAC on April 23, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic)


Kobe Bryant was as good a father as he was a basketball player. He raised four daughters and all of that, while staying remarkable enough to win five NBA championships. Hands down, the Black Mamba proved that nothing is impossible.

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However, managing the professional commitment, the several investment businesses, the philanthropic endeavors, and a large family, can get overwhelming. So this one time, a helpless Kobe sought help from the official voice of the Los Angeles Lakers.

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When Kobe Bryant seeked some parental guidance

As was evident from the video above, KB shared a beautiful (sometimes hilarious) relation with his angel daughters. But one must note that #24 married at a young age of 22 and had his first baby at the age of 24. By then, he had already completed a three-peat but he was fairly new and novice to parenting.

That’s where John Ireland, the radio play-by-play announcer for the Lake Show came to his rescue. As John expressed in an interview, “I have only one son, who’s 19 now. And his oldest, is 19, they were basically born a couple of months apart. So we kind of bonded over the fact that neither one of our wives were sleeping much because they were managing a baby.”  

Kobe Bryant answers questions during a press conference held at the Lakers training facility in El Segundo, Calif.. Thursday, July 15, 2004. Bryant chose the Lakers over the Clippers, remaining with the team he joined in 1996 at age 18 and later helped win three NBA championships. (Photo by Steve Grayson/WireImage)

They both entered the LA-based organization on the same timeline and Mr. Ireland even commentated during the iconic 60-point game on April 14th. 

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Upon hearing Kobe’s misery, John Ireland gave him a one-stop solution. As the American Sportscaster added, “He goes, ‘man Vanessa, my wife, can’t even take a shower. This baby just clings to her.’ I said, try this… I gave my baby Einstein video. It bought Kobe Bryant and his wife 20 minutes of peace. I saw him a couple of days later, I said did it work? He goes not only did it work, when I went out and bought another 15 of them. After that, we bonded at the parent level and he took care of me for a lot of years.”

Well, Baby Einstein is a production company that develops amazing videos for kids and also sells toys & flash cards. Plus it was founded in the same year, 1996, when KB got drafted. So the trick worked for the star couple and Kobe gave back by helping John with all the technicalities and other things. 

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No wonder Kobe later released a podcast, The Punies, for kids and tried to help other parents too. What a legendary player, coach, and father. #RIPKB

Watch this story: Most Notable On-Screen Appearances by Lakers’ Kobe Bryant

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Sourabh Singh

1739 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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