Kobe Bryant: AAU Basketball ‘Doesn’t Teach Our Kids How To Play’
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

After the 109-106 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday, Kobe Bryant had high praise for Pau and Marc Gasol. While discussing their skill level, Bryant mentioned how European basketball players are much more skillful than American basketball players, via ESPN’s Arash Markazi:

“I just think European players are just way more skillful,” Bryant said Friday night after the Los Angeles Lakers’ 109-106 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. “They are just taught the game the right way at an early age. … They’re more skillful. It’s something we really have to fix. We really have to address that. We have to teach our kids to play the right way.”

In addition to praising European players, Bryant talked about AAU basketball and how it doesn’t teach young players the fundamental of the games, via Markazi:

“AAU basketball,” Bryant said. “Horrible, terrible AAU basketball. It’s stupid. It doesn’t teach our kids how to play the game at all so you wind up having players that are big and they bring it up and they do all this fancy crap and they don’t know how to post. They don’t know the fundamentals of the game. It’s stupid.”

While Kobe grew up in Philadelphia, the five-time champion moved to Italy when he was six years old and learned the fundamentals of the game. Although Kobe is a shooting guard, he is one of the best post-players in the league and has mastered his footwork through the years.

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With Kobe acknowledging that he would be a much different player if his family did not move to Italy, the 36-year-old wants coaches to teach young players the fundamentals instead of treating them like cash cows. However, Kobe understands changing AAU basketball will not happen immediately, but it seems to be a topic he will continue to speak about.

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