What started out as a seemingly innocent post on Instagram by Kobe Bryant turned into a social media firestorm.
Bryant, the originator of the “mamba mentality,” was forced to do a little PR cleanup as a result.
It started on Wednesday (September 11) when Bryant posted a picture of his daughter’s AAU basketball team, the Mambas, after earning fourth place in a tournament.
The picture showed the players with their trophies and a caption that appeared to call out one of the players for prioritizing a dance recital over basketball.
"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,” he captioned the shot. “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.”
Kobe sees who’s got the Mamba mentality on his daughter’s team 🐍 pic.twitter.com/HSx9PywbyU— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 11, 2019
It’s 2019, so the post was quickly aggregated and made news. Many people created memes and jokes around it, others took it to another level.
There were questions around shaming kids, participation trophies, if the “mamba mentality” takes things too far, etc. All the outrage you would expect to find on social media.
Bryant edited the post and offered clarification, adding:
“meaning she enjoyed dance more than ball which is fine. Now? She eats sleeps and breaths the game.”
View this post on Instagram
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
Bryant said it’s important for kids to diversify and try different things.
He took to Twitter for further clarification.
“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”
“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.”
The funny thing about the whole “controversy” is the picture was from a tournament a couple years ago.
But that’s internet culture in 2019. Accuse and criticize first, ask questions later or maybe never.
Kobe understands the nature of the internet and even posted a video of himself missing basketball as a youngster to dance in a school show.
Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images
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