Kobe Bryant has been known as a strong supporter of up and coming basketball stars. With his impending retirement, the Los Angeles Lakers icon has been widely reported to be open a guiding influence for the likes of D'Angelo Russell, Larry Nance, Jr and Julius Randle. In fact, the Black Mamba provided career advice for Boston Celtics star Isaiah Thomas.
However, the NBA icon is lashing out at one of the breeding grounds for young talent today. Bryant is aggressively speaking out against the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). According to the Black Mamba, the said organization is failing to educate the aspiring basketball players how to play the game and appreciate the strategies. The Los Angeles Lakers star also lambasted the system of the AAU, saying that the way things are ran in the group is "horrible."
"I hate it because it [AAU] doesn't teach our players how to play the right way, how to think the game, how to play in combinations of threes," said Bryant via ESPN. He added, "I think everything is a reward system. I think the coaches who are teaching the game are getting rewarded in one fashion or another. It's just a showcase. I think it's absolutely horrible for the game."
The AAU is a non-profit organization that caters to different athletes of varying sports activities including basketball, lacrosse and martial arts. To date, it is the largest volunteer group of its kind in the United States. The goal of the AAU is to promote and develop aspiring athletes through amateur sports and physical fitness programs. Since the 1970s, the AAU has been under attack due to various issues ranging from the poor living conditions of the athletes to the privacy concerns of those under it.
Bryant further commented, "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."
The Black Mamba added that the AAU are "doing a tremendous disservice" to the aspiring basketball stars. He stressed the need to fix the system to stop the downfall of the young athletes in the hands of the AAU.
He shared, "Teach players the game at an early age and stop treating them like cash cows for everyone to profit off of. That's how you do that. You have to teach them the game. Give them instruction."
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers team members also received their share of tongue lashing from Bryant. The 37-year-old star was reported to have expressed his disappointment over the NBA team's performance in the recent games. Byron Scott disclosed that the speech Bryant delivered in the locker room was an initiative of the star. The Los Angeles Lakers head coach shared that the Black Mamba simply told his teammates to take part of the blame for their abysmal record this season.
"I think the biggest thing I got from all the comments that he made is that [he said], 'Don't blame it on anybody else. You can't blame it on the schemes or you're not getting your minutes or your touches or anything like that,'" said Scott. He added, "His message was, basically, you've got to compete every night. You've got to come ready to compete like he did was when he was 18, 19 years old until he was 37 years old."