During the must-see NBATV interview with Kevin Garnett, the future hall-of-famer reflects on the highs and lows of his career with former coach Kevin McHale and discusses his passion for the game, which he feels has been “killed” by AAU basketball.
“Our league now is at a point where you have to teach more than anything.” Said KG, who played on a standout Michigan AAU team with the late Robert “Tractor” Traylor and Albert White. “AAU has killed our league. Seriously. I hate to even say this, but it’s real. From the perspective that these kids are not being taught anything. They have intentions and they want things but the way they see it is not how our league works. You earn everything in this league. You’re not entitled to anything. And it’s more entitlement than anything.”
His negative feelings towards AAU ball is similar to that of many older NBA vets, including Kobe Bryant, who played on arguably the greatest AAU team ever.
“Horrible, terrible AAU basketball. It’s stupid. It doesn’t teach our kids how to play the game at all so you wind up having players that are big and they bring it up and they do all this fancy crap and they don’t know how to post. They don’t know the fundamentals of the game. It’s stupid.”
“When you have limitations and you understand your limitations and you stay within yourself, you can be great,” Kobe Bryant said. “You know what you can do and what you can’t do. In America, it’s a big problem for us because we’re not teaching players how to play all-around basketball. That’s why you have Pau and Marc [Gasol], and that’s the reason why 90 percent of the Spurs’ roster is European players, because they have more skill.”
“Teach players the game at an early age and stop treating them like cash cows for everyone to profit off of. That’s how you do that. You have to teach them the game. Give them instruction.”
“That’s a deep well because then you start cutting into people’s pockets,” Bryant on a solution “People get really upset when you start cutting into their pockets because all they do is try to profit off these poor kids. There’s no quick answer.”
Kobe’s former teammate Robert Horry has also been very vocal about AAU hoops.