- Kobe Bryant, in an Instagram post, called out one of the players on the girls youth basketball team he coaches for missing a game for a dance recital.
- Bryant later amended the post, saying that her absence meant “she enjoyed dance more than ball which is fine” and that “Now? She eats sleeps and breathes the game.”
- Some fans on social media called out Bryant for the post, but he said he was just trying to explain why the girl wasn’t in the picture.
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Kobe Bryant is not a fan of participation trophies.
On Tuesday, Bryant shared an image of the fourth-place trophy the youth girls basketball team he coaches won two years ago, writing in the caption that the players all wanted to “throw it away” after their disappointing finish. Bryant told them to keep the trophy as motivation.
View this post on Instagram
2 years ago, my little Mambas lost a game by 20, 25 and 40. I asked what they planned on doing with the 4th place trophy they had just “won” and they all said “throw it away”. I told them instead to put it somewhere in their room where it would be the first thing they see when they wake up to remind themselves what they will never “win” again. We will win some and lose some but we will continue to do THE WORK. Cry about it or be about it was my message. They chose to be about it #mambamentality
On Wednesday, Bryant went a step further, sharing an image of the team after winning the trophy. In the original caption that accompanied the post, Bryant wrote, “Here’s our fourth place ‘winners’ picture lol six of the kids in the picture stayed with me and worked every single day to get better and continue to work to this day. The 7th player (not in pic) missed this game for a dance recital so that should tell you where her focus was at this time.”
The original post was screen-grabbed by Sports Illustrated.
Safe to say Kobe is…not thrilled with a fourth place finish pic.twitter.com/JHUCAmuL5c
— SI Extra Mustard (@SI_ExtraMustard) September 11, 2019
Bryant would later amend the caption to be a bit less overtly critical of the player that chose to perform in her dance recital.
“The 7th player (not in pic) missed this game for a dance recital so that should tell you where her focus was at this time, meaning she enjoyed dance more than ball which is fine,” Bryant wrote in the new post. “Now? She eats sleeps and breathes the game.”
View this post on Instagram
Here’s our fourth place “winners” picture lol six of the kids in the picture stayed with me and worked every single day to get better and continue to work to this day. The 7th player (not in pic) missed this game for a dance recital so that should tell you where her focus was at this time, meaning she enjoyed dance more than ball which is fine. Now? She eats sleeps and breaths the game. So from this original group of 7 we have added a player TWO years YOUNGER (6th grade now), a player who’s team in our area folded and a player who’s family moved here from Tennessee. The beauty of coaching is growing the players from the ground up. That journey continues #mambas #2yearsago
Still, some basketball fans caught Bryant’s original caption and took issue with his decision to call out one of his players.
Kobe Bryant has no feelings. His heart is black like charcoal pic.twitter.com/5Vt4fiPvZu
— Selorm (@Pinero_SCN) September 11, 2019
— wrapped in GOLD (@Redd_Vain) September 11, 2019
Imagine being a middle school girl and Kobe Bryant goes on Instagram to blast you for missing a game 1 game… this dude is a psychopath pic.twitter.com/rK2XWaHh4F
— LIL UZI SQUIRT (@Fonzo_Ball) September 11, 2019
Bryant responded by saying he was just trying to explain why the seventh player wasn’t pictured.
Nah fam I was just explaining why she wasn’t in the pic. Most of my kids on the team played and still play other sports including my daughter so it’s all love. Don’t misunderstand the message.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) September 11, 2019
Whether you’re an NBA teammate of his or a player on his youth basketball team, it appears Bryant expects a full commitment to the “Mamba Mentality.”
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