What Really Has AAU Done To The Game Of Basketball?

What Really Has AAU Done To The Game Of Basketball?
  • Cam Littlejohn

This a topic I have been itching to talk about, but have waited so long because I couldn’t necessarily find the right words to say and how to say it. And I’m still not sure if I do.

In today’s world AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) basketball is becoming one of the largest foundations for up and coming basketball players. Sounds like a good thing right? We’ll many NBA players decided to voice their opinion over AAU, and one of them being “The Black Mamba”, Kobe Bryant.

Okay, we get it Kobe, you do not like AAU basketball. It has “killed our league”, according to the Mamba. But Kobe Bryant, we did not all grow up in Italy or Europe learning every single fundamental aspect to the game of basketball. Our dad’s were not all professional basketball players. But I do get where you are coming from Kobe. Not all of the time, AAU coaches teach the necessary skills in order to transition over into the NBA or college for that matter. I get it.

But the purpose of AAU is for exposure. It is the chance to play the game all year around when you aren’t playing for your high school team. It is the chance to showcase your talents in a different system. High school systems can sometimes hold you back because of the strictness and constraints of some coaches. Now, I am not saying this is always a good thing but this is the whole goal of the AAU culture.

What if there is a kid who is from a small town, and has exceptional talents? Does he still get that same attention that a kid from a big city, or big time school, and nearly half as good, would? AAU is about opening those doors and giving that small town kid an opportunity.

AAU coaches and teams might not always have the right mindset and teachings but don’t you think that depends on where you play as does anything else? Not every coach thinks the same way Kobe Bryant, you should know that. And yes, as you pointed out it is a reward system. But isn’t that in every sport system now a days. It brings the competition out, good or bad.

I played AAU basketball and played for a damn good team at that. My AAU team consisted of a bunch of small town kids from Central New York. We had a coach who taught us everything we needed to know about the game of basketball. Our head coach for our AAU team was an assistant for a couple of our players high school team, including myself. In 2012, my high school team won a state championship and my AAU team won a national championship all in the same year. Not one player played division one basketball. So yes, when it comes down to it,it really depends on what AAU program and who you decide to play for. I don’t believe his comments should take a toll on the whole AAU program.

And yes, Kobe, you, and Kevin Garnett can make these comments because you did not need AAU for exposure. In fact, you didn’t even need college to get the attention you deserved. But when you take a step back and look at it, all these issues you point out start with coaches.

And hey, no more going from high school to the pros anymore so those college coaches have at least one year to change that mindset. And Kobe if you were to see this article one day, just know this is all out of love and you still live on to be one of the greatest to ever do it.

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