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A Tribute to Kobe: Joe "Jellybean" Bryant Plays in Regular-Season Finale

March 3, 2004 - American Basketball Association (ABA) - Maywood Laguneros News Release

LONG BEACH, CA – On the day where his son Kobe Bryant was in court and unable to play basketball with the Los Angeles Lakers in Atlanta, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, Head Coach of the Las Vegas Rattlers, put himself in the starting lineup for his American Basketball Association (ABA) team. And what number did Jellybean wear? Number 8. Jellybean played all but two minutes of the game, getting 18 points, five rebounds, and five assists.

The ABA regular season came to an end tonight at the Pyramid in Long Beach with the Jam improving to 24-7 by defeating the Rattlers (10-16) 142-122. Ronnie Coleman led the Jam with 30 points and 10 rebounds.

The Jam clinched the ABA regular season championship Sunday by slamming the Rattlers 154-117. As the number one seed heading into the postseason, the Jam do not play again until the ABA Championship Game, March 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the Pyramid.

In the meantime, the six other teams in the league travel to Juarez to play for the right to meet the Jam in the final contest. On March 4, the Jersey Squires face the Las Vegas Rattlers and the Tijuana Diablos square off against the Fresno HeatWave. The winner of those games will play March 5 against the Juarez Gallos de Pelea and the Kansas City Knights. The two teams emerging from those games will compete March 6 in the ABA semifinal game with a trip to Long Beach at stake.

The Jam enter the Championship Game on a five-game winning streak. The team opened the season by winning its first seven games.

Championship Game tickets are available for purchase by visiting the Long Beach State Pyramid box office, or by phone at 562-985-4949 and 888-4-JAM-TIX. Prices range from $5 for students, senior citizens and military, to $10-15 for reserved seating. Group tickets may be purchased by calling the Jam offices at 562-799-8100.

Note: OurSports Central no longer actively covers the American Basketball Association (ABA) as a professional league due in part to its inability to publish and play a schedule and the transitory nature of many of its teams. For information on professional minor leagues, please see OSC's basketball section.

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