After retiring from the NBA in 2016, Kobe Bryant kept busy with a variety of endeavors. He wrote a children’s book, produced an Oscar-winning short film, and stayed involved with basketball as the coach of his daughter’s team.
Strangely enough, it’s this last role that seems like it’s been the most challenging to Bryant. Because while his knowledge of the game is unquestionable, his knowledge of how to be a good youth coach is a bit lacking.
A photo Bryant posted to his Instagram shows the team holding trophies and looking…less than thrilled, a sign that the future hall of famer might be struggling to accomplish what should be the number one priority of any kids’ coach: making sure everyone has fun.
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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
Compare that to this post from a couple of days earlier that showed the team after a (massive) win.
Eighth-grade basketball leagues like the one his daughter plays in are not the ultra-competitive pinnacle of the sport Bryant is used to. These two pictures suggest that for Bryant’s team winning means happiness and losing means sadness. That sucks, as youth coaches should ensure that their players have fun win or lose.
Then there’s the issue of the caption, which isn’t great now but used to be even worse.
Sports Illustrated posted a screenshot of the original post on Twitter, which shows that Bryant added “meaning she enjoyed dance more than ball which is fine. Now? She eat sleeps and breaths the game [sic]” to the original. Without the edit, he sounds kind of pissed at a literal child. With the edit, he sounds miffed at a literal child. Neither is a great look.
This struggle is understandable. Bryant had to be hypercompetitive to be as successful as he was in the NBA, and it’s not something we’d fault him for (there’s plenty of other stuff in that category). But to do the best job he can for his daughter and her teammates, the Mamba should consider making fun his number one priority.