After the Lakers lost 109-106 to the Grizzles on Friday, Kobe Bryant lamented that the AAU takeover of youth basketball in America has hurt the game. Kobe learned to play the game in Italy and France, while his peers in the US came up in the highly competitive youth system, called AAU.
Bryant has a good idea of both worlds, and doesn’t much care for America’s youth basketball developmental system. Per ESPN:
Kobe Bryant believes European basketball players are more skillful than American basketball players, and says it’s a growing trend that can be blamed on the greed and coaching at the AAU level.
“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.”
Bryant was quick to point the finger for the decline of skilled players in the United States.
“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.”
Bryant had a simple solution to the problem.
“Teach players the game at an early age and stop treating them like cash cows for everyone to profit off of,” he said. “That’s how you do that. You have to teach them the game. Give them instruction.”