If you aren’t first, you’re last.
It’s a line heard in sports often and there is no athlete who embodies the spirit of fierce competition more than Kobe Bryant.
The 41-year-old former Los Angeles Laker has taken to coaching his daughter’s AAU basketball team in retirement and recently posted on Instagram sharing a two-year-old photo of the team with a caption that bluntly addressed the team’s performance and attendance.
“Here’s our fourth place ‘winners’ picture Redditlol,” the caption reads.
Bryant went on to seemingly call out one of the members of the team who opted to go to a dance recital instead of play in the team’s tournament at the time and some social media users called into question the basketball legend’s coaching methods while others crafted joking memes of what it might be like to play for Bryant.
“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 breathes the game.”
Everyone in the photo looks dejected and sad as the players hold up their fourth place trophies, but none looked more upset than Bryant.
But Bryant ends the post with a hopeful message: “The beauty of coaching is growing the players from the ground up. That journey continues.”
Bryant later clarified his comments, posting an old video showing his 12-year-old self at a dance recital with the caption: “When I was 12, I skipped basketball for two weeks so I could dance in a school show. I’m all about diversifying while young, then locking in on your passion.”
Bryant had previously shared a photo of his players celebrating after trouncing another team 115-27 — a team whom that they had lost 22-21 two years ago.