Kobe Bryant's dad, Joe Bryant, is relatively well known. It makes sense that NBA fans would be aware of Joe Bryant since he is the father of a Top 10 Player in NBA History, and Joe Bryant himself had a decent eight-season NBA career. However, there is another family member of Kobe that was also in the NBA that rarely gets talked about, his uncle, Chubby Cox.
And yes. That is his real name. Don't laugh (or do, it's funny).
Chubby Cox's real name was "John Arthur Cox III," which sounds better (and more appropriate). Besides the fact that it was his nickname, there is no found reason why he 'seems' to officially be known as "Chubby." Wikipedia and Basketball-Reference also refer to Cox by "Chubby Cox." Even if "Chubby" was just Cox's nickname, it still is not the most glamorous nickname.
Disregarding his name, Chubby Cox is not as talked about compared to his niece and brother-in-law because he was not in the league for that long. He only played seven games in the NBA, but that does not mean that he was a bad player.
NCAA Career (1973-78)
Before joining the NBA, Cox played Shooting Guard for the Villanova Wildcats from 1973-75. With complete honesty, his two seasons at Villanova were dreadful. In the first season, the team would go 7-19, and in the following season, 9-18. Besides the team's record, Cox did not play that well. He averaged:
9.0 Points and 4.7 Rebounds
36.5 FG% and 56.9 FT%
If your Shooting Guard is only scoring nine points per game while shooting extremely inefficiently from the field and free-throw line, it is not surprising that the team had a negative regular-season record. What's crazy is that even though Cox played badly, he was probably the Wildcats' best Guard...
After two seasons with the Wildcats, Chubby Cox would transfer to the San Francisco Dons. This was a fantastic choice as in the season he joined the Dons (1976-77), they would go 29-2 (93.5 W/L%) and were the first seed in the West Coast Athletic Conference. The team would not lose to a SINGLE team within the conference (14-0).
5/11 of the 1976-77 Dons players would end up playing in the NBA, one of those players being 1x All-Star and 3x Champion, Bill Cartwright. To emphasize how good this team was even further, the average PPG for the Dons was 93.7 while the average OPPG was 77.6, a 16.1 POINT difference!
As for Cox, he would play a lot better while on the Dons. In the 1976-77 season, he averaged:
9.4 Points, 2.7 Rebounds, 5.4 Assists
48.1 FG% and 79.7 FT%
Cox was much more efficient and slightly scored more points. Assists were not counted when Cox was at Wildcats, so I'm not sure if he improved regarding assists.
Since the Dons were the first seed in their conference, they made it to the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately, they would lose in the first round against the eventual third-place winners, the UNLV Rebels, 95-121.
Cox's first NCAA game was not good. He ended up scoring nine points and grabbed one rebound while shooting 3/9 from the field and 3/4 from the free-throw line. Although he was hitting his free throws, he reverted to the Wildcats version of himself when shooting from the field.
The Dons would play worse in his final NCAA season (1977-78), going 23-6 (79.3 W/L%). However, they were still the first seed in the West Coast Athletic Conference, making them able to play in the NCAA Tournament once again.
Before mentioning how Cox played in his second NCAA Tournament appearance, in the regular season, he averaged:
13.8 Points, 4.1 Rebounds, 5.4 Assists
47.9 FG%, 77.5 FT%
This was the first time Cox had averaged more than ten points!
Although Cox had a good regular season, he again played awful during the NCAA Tournament. This time, the Dons would make it to the second round before getting beat by the Cal State Fullerton Titans, 72-75.
They faced the UNC Tar Heels in the first round and won 68-64. Cox did not have an awful game, but it wasn't something to be proud of. He put up:
12 Points, 5 Rebounds, 4 Assists, 1 Steal
4/11 FG, 4/4 FT
However, it was in the second round where Cox completely broke down. Against Cal State Fullerton, he put up:
4 Points, 4 Rebounds, 4 Assists
If Cox had shot the ball as he did during the regular season, the Dons would have definitely made the next round. To play 34 minutes and only record four points on 22.2% shooting from the field is disgraceful. To be nice, he was not the only person that shot inefficiently in this game. Rod Williams played 29 minutes and shot 0/3 from the field, while Sam Williams played 17 minutes and shot 2/6.
CBA Career (1978-81)
After the 1977-78 NCAA season, Chubby Cox would enter the 1978 NBA Draft. He got selected by the Chicago Bulls as the 159th pick but was never signed. As a result, he went to the CBA and played for the Wilkes-Barre Barons from 1978-80.
In his first season with the Barons, he averaged:
20.9 Points, 4.4 Rebounds, 6.7 Assists, 2.3 Steals, and 0.4 Blocks
49.8 FG%, 25.0 3P%, 79.4 FT%
Cox was probably tied for the best player on the Barons with Phil Brown. Cox ended up having the seventh most assists this season (207). For some reason, Cox was not selected to the All-CBA First or Second Team. Half the players on the All Second Team were definitely worse than him. However, this was probably because he only played 31/44 games (70.4%).
As for the Barons, they ended up going 22-22 (50.0 W/L%) and, even with that record, were the first seed in the Southern Division. This was because the Southern Division was horrible. Here are the records for the second, third, and fourth seed:
Allentown Jets: 20-21
Lancaster Red Roses: 14-26
Baltimore Metros/Mohawk Valley Thunderbirds: 16-15
Yes. The win/loss records are incredibly janky, and I'm also just as confused as to why the Jets played 41 games, but the Metros/Thunderbirds played 31.
In the playoffs, the Barons went 1-3. I don't know what that means, but Cox averaged:
24.3 Points, 5.3 Rebounds, 6.5 Assists, 1.5 Steals, and 0.3 Blocks
51.4 FG%, 77.8 FT%
Unlike his performances in the NCAA, Cox stepped up when it came to the playoffs.
Chubby Cox played even better in his second season with the team (1978-79). This was undoubtedly his best season in his professional basketball career. He averaged:
29.2 Points, 4.1 Rebounds, 5.8 Assists, 3.0 Steals, and 0.6 Blocks
48.0 FG%, 84.1 FT%
Once again, Cox was snubbed for the First and Second Team because he only played 28/31 regular-season games (68.3%). He did, however, end up having the eighth-most steals this season (84). On the other hand, the team did worse. They went 14-17 (45.2 W/L%). Since the Southern Division sucked, the Barons were still the second seed and played in the playoffs.
The playoffs were disappointing for the Barons and Cox. The Barons went 0-2, and Cox averaged:
21.0 Points, 5.0 Rebounds, 6.0 Assists, 2.0 Steals
42.9 FG%, 92.3 FT%
Not a bad performance, but he played worse than he did in the regular season. For some reason, Cox played 8.8 fewer minutes even though the team could have used him more.
In his final season in the CBA, Chubby Cox played for the Philadelphia Kings. This was a weird season for Cox. He went from playing 37.8 minutes per game to 28.6 minutes even though he was the second-best guard on the team. As a result, his stats plummeted to:
16.3 Points, 3.0 Rebounds, 5.3 Assists, 2.6 Steals, and 0.3 Blocks
47.2 FG%, 79.7 FT%
Even within his limited playing time, Cox still had the seventh-most assists in the league (82).
The Kings were worse than the Barons. They ended up with a 17-23 (42.5 W/L%) record and finished third in the Eastern Conference. I guess the league did not have enough teams because three teams with a negative record were in the playoffs, including the Kings. The Kings ended up losing, 3-3 in the playoff.
I don't even feel like mentioning Cox's stats during the playoffs because the team ended up playing him for only 19.7 minutes per game. He was playing almost twice as many minutes during the 1978-79 season with the Barons.
A Very Short NBA Career (1983)
In the 1982-83 NBA season, Chubby Cox would finally get his opportunity to play in the NBA. The Washington Bullets signed him to back-to-back 10-day contracts. From January 1st, 1983 to January 22nd, 1983, he played seven games for the Bullets. Within those games, he averaged:
4.1 Points, 1.4 Rebounds, 0.9 Assists, 0.1 Blocks
35.1 FG%, 50.0 FT%
Obviously, not the best stats. As a result, Cox would unfortunately not be signed by the Bullets after the two 10-day contracts. Within those seven games, his best performance was on January 15th, 1983, against the San Antonio Spurs. He put up:
10 Points, 4 Rebounds, 1 Assist
5/11 FG, 0/1 FT
After the 1983 NBA season, Cox's professional basketball career ended. He has a son named John Cox, a Point Guard/Shooting Guard that played for various basketball teams across Europe. John also seems to have retired (potentially) since he is 40 now.