Kobe Bryant Slammed for Singling out Girl on Daughter's Team for Attending Recital Instead of the Game
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
“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.”
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.”
Doing a dance to miss the game isn’t a bad thing. That’s not what I was saying. I was just giving context as to why she wasn’t in the picture. All my girls play/played diff sports. It’s all good and For the record I followed their lead on not smiling. They HATED those trophies— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) September 11, 2019
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.”
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— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) September 11, 2019
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.