In an interview with Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins, Bryant bashed the AAU system and said he's glad he circumvented AAU ball by growing up in Italy.
"I was lucky to grow up in Italy at a time when basketball in America was getting f----- up with AAU shuffling players through on strength and athleticism," Bryant said. "I missed all that, and instead I was taught extreme fundamentals: footwork, footwork, footwork, how to create space, how to handle the ball, how to protect the ball, how to shoot the ball."
Bryant isn't the first current or former NBA star to come out as a critic of AAU. Charles Barkley has been railing on the system for years.
"AAU is the worst thing to happen to college basketball ever," Barkley said in 2011. "I hate AAU more than anything in the world. These kids aren’t getting good coaching. They're playing too many games and not working on their game enough."