Joe “Jellybean” Bryant has been named head coach of the Bangkok Cobras who will play in the 3rd Season of the AisAsia ASEAN Basketball League, ABL. Bryant becomes the teams inaugural head coach and brings with him an extensive career as both player and coach. Selected in the First round of the 1975 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors, Bryant had a successful 8 year career in NBA playing for such teams as the 76′ers, with Julius “Dr. J” Erving, San Diego Clippers and Houston Rockets. Following his career in the NBA, Bryant moved to Italy where he played another 8 seasons abroad.
Retiring his jersey in 1992; Bryant picked up the suit and tie in 1993 and moved from player to coach. He began his coaching career at Akiba Hebrew Academy near his hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as the women’s varsity coach. Moving through the ranks he took up the head coaching position of his college alma-mater, LaSalle University. Building on his successes as a coach he was later named head coach of the WNBA Los Angeles Sparks in 2005. Under his guidance the 2006 season saw the Sparks carry a 25-9 record to secure a Conference Finals appearance. Similar to his career as a player, Bryant’s coaching career has been multinational. Coaching in the ABA, WNBA and the Japanese BJ League Bryant knows how to adapt to locations, talents and styles of play.
Having established a domestic and international track record as a coach, Bryant will be well suited for the ABL’s international makeup. Employing a coaching style which favors humor over stern instruction, he is sure to make an impact in Thailand both on and off the court. As the father of one of the greatest NBA players of this generation, Kobe Bryant, his teaching techniques, drills and advice have proven fundamental to success. Displaying these skill to Thai fans will help build a fan base to foster the growth of basketball with the country’s younger generations.
The Cobra’s stand to benefit as well from his seasoned resume and successful lineage. Bryant is an active coach and enjoys getting involved in drills when instructing or making an important point, so it won’t be a surprise to see coach mixing it up with the team during practice. Could Thailand be waiting to produce the next Kobe Bryant?
The Cobra’s season tipped off January 14th in the Philippines as they squared off against the returning AirAsia Philippine Patriots. The Patriots proved to be to much to handle as the Cobra’s fell 86-58 in their opening match. January 20th the Cobra’s took on the returning Season 2 champs, the Chang Thailand Slammers, on their home court of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. After a solid week of practice Coach Bryant has the team gelling together well and playing hard and smart. At the buzzer the Cobra’s were the victors defeating the defending champs 71-67. With a record of 1-1 the Cobra’s head next to Singapore to take on the Singapore Slingers. Stay tuned in to see how the remainder of Coach Bryant and the Cobra’s seasons unfolds, it should be exciting!