College - La Salle
Joe “Jellybean” Bryant returns to Los Angeles for his second tour of duty as a member of the Sparks’ coaching staff.
Bryant first joined the Sparks in 2005 as an assistant coach, and was promoted to head coach over the final five games of that season. He made an immediate impact as the team posted a 4-1 record over that span and qualified for the Western Conference Semifinals.
The following year, Los Angeles finished atop the Western Conference at 25-9 – the second-best record in the league – and reached the Conference Finals. Bryant was at the helm of the Sparks as Lisa Leslie earned her third and final WNBA MVP award in 2006.
Most recently, Bryant served as head coach of Raru Kamuy Hokkaido, a Japanese first division men’s team, and taught at a private basketball academy in Japan. Since 2006 he’s also held head coaching positions with the Tokyo Apache and Italy’s Sebastiani Rieti. Bryant’s coaching experience began as an assistant coach at his alma mater, LaSalle University in 1993, and continued with head coaching positions in the American Basketball Association (Las Vegas Rattlers and Boston Frenzy) and in the Slamball league.
In 1975, Bryant was the 14th overall selection in the NBA Draft by Golden State Warriors and was traded before the season to his hometown Philadelphia 76ers, where he played three seasons. Bryant headed back to the West Coast when he was traded by the 76ers to the San Diego Clippers, for whom he played from 1980-82. After a final NBA season with the Houston Rockets in 1983, Bryant continued his career in Italy for eight years in both the A1 and A2 Leagues.
Bryant and his wife Pam have two daughters, Sharia and Shayla, while their son Kobe has led the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA Championships in his 15-year NBA career.