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Who was Kobe Bryant’s uncle, Chubby Cox?

Bruno Cooke January 3, 2022
Who was Kobe Bryant’s uncle, Chubby Cox?
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images


Twitter users are daring each other not to look up who Kobe Bryant’s uncle was, presumably as his birthday was just a few days ago – and because of his amusing nickname. Who was Kobe Bryant’s uncle, “Chubby”, and who did he play for?

Who was Kobe Bryant’s uncle?

Born 1955, John Arthur “Chubby” Cox is the brother-in-law of former NBA player Joe Bryant; his sister is Pam Cox, who married Kobe Bryant’s father.

John Arthur “Chubby” Cox III is an American former professional basketball player, who played in the position of point guard. 

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Born December 29, 1955 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he is currently 66 years old, having turned the age just before New Year’s Eve.

Chubby Cox is 6ft 2in (1.88m), and his listed weight – as a competitive basketball player – was 180lb (82kg). 

When did Chubby Cox play basketball, and who for?

He was drafted in the eighth round (seventh pick) by the NBA’s Chicago Bulls in 1978. But he didn’t make the actual roster until four years later.

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ILL | Your only way down Gameplay

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Cox played seven games for the Washington Bullets, scoring a total of 29 points. Aside from the NBA, Kobe Bryant’s uncle played professionally in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) for three years, from 1978 to 1981.

During a single game against the Lancaster Red Roses on December 28, 1979 (the day before his 24th birthday), he scored 50 points.

Quite why he was nicknamed “Chubby” remains unclear. As one fan wrote on Medium to celebrate Cox’s birthday in 2016, “as for his physique, Cox was anything but Chubby”.

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Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

John Arthur “Chubby” Cox III is the brother of Pamela Bryant (née Cox), who is Kobe’s mother. Pamela married Joe Bryant – Kobe’s father – when she was 21.

Chubby Cox himself has one son, John. John Arthur Cox IV is a Venezuelan-American pro basketball player. His mother, Victoria, is a former USF cheerleader. 

Born 1981 in Caracas, Venezuela, John is currently 40 years old. He is a former Olympian and USF Dons 2019 Hall of Fame honouree

The reason people are daring each other not to – or sometimes to – search online for who was Kobe Bryant’s uncle appears to be because Cox’s birthday has just been – and, probably, because of his amusing nickname.

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or