Troubled basketball superstar Kobe Bryant has been caught up in the MICHAEL JACKSON child abuse scandal after the mother of the pop star's accuser name dropped him as a family friend.

Teenager GAVIN ARVIZO's mum claims Kobe is one of many celebrities offering "support" and "love" to the family as they prepare to tackle Jackson in court.

In confidential documents, Arvizo's mum says various celebrities are "helping her," adding, "They are our friends, they shower us with love, we see them very often. They come to our house."

She maintains that she met celebrities, like Bryant, on the street and befriended them.

The odd claims have prompted child welfare investigators to ask the mother if she has ever sought psychiatric treatment.

They concluded, "Mom has found ways to get things for her kids."

A spokesman for Bryant refuses to confirm or deny the basketball star's links to the Arvizos, but confesses, "He often does meets and greets with sick children after games."

Bryant is currently fighting his own legal battle after being accused of raping a clerk at a Colorado hotel.

08/01/2004 02:25