While Joe never publicly confirmed their reasoning for pulling away from their son, it was speculated that they did not approve of Kobe marrying someone who was not also African American.
When asked specifically about why he decided to break contact with his son, Joe said, “Once he decided to get married, it’s his life now,” according to the Orlando Sentinel.
“When Kobe made a decision to be with someone he cared about, Pam and I decided it was time to back off, that’s all it was,” he continued.”It’s his life, we’ve got nothing to do with it… We’ve done our job.”
Joe did not give his specific reasons for the separation to the outlet but suggested he thought Kobe was too young to marry. He said one day, Kobe would “understand what I’m doing.”
Their decision to cut contact visibly affected Kobe, who told the outlet, “I want a father. I want my father.”