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Kobe Bryant Slammed for Singling out Girl on Daughter's Team for Attending Recital Instead of the Game

Mary Scott
Sep 15, 2019
11:00 A.M.
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Kobe Bryant came under fire earlier this week after he seemingly called out a middle schooler on his basketball team for attending a dance recital instead of their game.

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It all started over the weekend when Bryant shared an Instagram post celebrating his AAU basketball team for scoring a landslide victory against the same team that beat them two years ago.

Kobe Bryant hosts a Kobe A.D. event at MAMA Gallery on Nov. 1, 2016 in California | Photo: Getty Images

Kobe Bryant hosts a Kobe A.D. event at MAMA Gallery on Nov. 1, 2016 in California | Photo: Getty Images

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The retired athlete, however, took his motivational series a little too far when, in a subsequent post, he appeared to shade a member of the team who ditched the game they lost two years ago.

Bryant shared a throwback picture of the team members, including one of his daughters, holding up fourth-place trophies without smiles.

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THE CONTROVERSIAL POST

The post’s original caption read partly:

“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.”

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REACTIONS TO THE POST

Social media users went in on Bryant, both on Instagram and Twitter, calling him out for attempting to shame a young girl for her preferences.

“How you throw shade at a lil girl for a dance recital Kobe,” one Instagram user scolded.

Screenshot of fan reaction to Kobe Bryant’s apparent dig at a young girl on his team | Photo: Instagram/kobebryant

Screenshot of fan reaction to Kobe Bryant’s apparent dig at a young girl on his team | Photo: Instagram/kobebryant

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Screenshot of fan reaction to Kobe Bryant’s apparent dig at a young girl on his team | Photo: Instagram/kobebryant

Screenshot of fan reaction to Kobe Bryant’s apparent dig at a young girl on his team | Photo: Instagram/kobebryant

“Imagine being in 8th grade and getting roasted by Kobe,” chimed in another while a third added:

“Wow! When you put down a girl for pursuing what makes her happy, that’s just a new low.”

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Screenshot of fan reaction to Kobe Bryant’s apparent dig at a young girl on his team | Photo: Instagram/kobebryant

Screenshot of fan reaction to Kobe Bryant’s apparent dig at a young girl on his team | Photo: Instagram/kobebryant

Screenshot of fan reaction to Kobe Bryant’s apparent dig at a young girl on his team | Photo: Instagram/kobebryant

Screenshot of fan reaction to Kobe Bryant’s apparent dig at a young girl on his team | Photo: Instagram/kobebryant

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DAMAGE CONTROL

After the backlash, Bryant edited his post to read: “She enjoyed dance more than ball which is fine. Now? She eats sleeps and breathes (sic) the game.” He also tried to clarify his true meaning with a few comments.

“That wasn’t shade. She enjoyed dancing more than hooping at that time, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Just pointing out that ball wasn’t the primary focus,” he explained to one fan on Instagram. “Now? She LOVES basketball.”

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MORE DAMAGE CONTROL

The LA Lakers legend also tried to douse the tension on Twitter, replying to one user:

“Sorry if it came across as a slight, trust me it wasn’t. I was just giving the reason for her not being in the pic. They chose not to smile for the pic I actually followed their lead. Our team has become family and this includes the 7th player.”

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BRYANT'S POST-NBA LIFE

“Nah fam I was just explaining why she wasn’t in the pic,”

he added to another.

“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.”

Since retiring from the NBA in 2016, Bryant, who recently welcomed a fourth child with his wife Vanessa, has been keeping busy coaching his two oldest daughters Natalia, 16, and Gianna, 13, along with other girls, in AAU basketball.

Bryant, 41, has also been invested in book publishing for young ones, mostly combining fantasy and sports in novels like “The Wizenard Series” and the recently launched “Legacy and the Queen.”

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