Kobe Bryant clarifies Instagram picture of youth basketball team after receiving backlash over caption

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NBA legend Kobe Bryant had to two-step his way around an awkward Instagram post Wednesday after being accused of throwing shade at a young girl on his youth basketball team who did not show up for a game because she had a dance recital.

Bryant posted a photo of his team appearing to be upset because they had placed fourth. He posted a long caption to go along with the photo.

“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.”

The Los Angeles Lakers great was chided over the Instagram photo.

Bryant later clarified in a few tweets that he was just explaining why the girl 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.”

He added: "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"


Bryant retired from the NBA after the 2015-16 season. He won five NBA titles with the Lakers during his 20-year career — and never once missed a game for a dance recital.

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