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Kobe Bryant on AAU: 'I think it's absolutely horrible for the game'

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Kobe Bryant has been an outspoken critic of AAU basketball on multiple occasions in the past, saying that it's not teaching the fundamentals of the game to modern generations.

The Los Angeles Lakers icon still carries those beliefs and, when asked, reiterated them Saturday after his final game in Portland against the Trail Blazers.

"I hate it because it doesn't teach our players how to play the right way, how to think the game, how to play in combinations of threes," the 37-year-old Bryant, who is retiring this summer after 20 seasons in the NBA, said following a 121-103 loss at the Moda Center.

"I think everything is a reward system. I think the coaches who are teaching the game are getting rewarded in one fashion or another. It's just a showcase. I think it's absolutely horrible for the game."

Bryant was asked if he believes younger players lack fundamentals whereas his generation understands them more.

"Yeah, but I think that is just by luck in the generation that I grew up in," he said. "My generation is when AAU basketball really started becoming s---. I got lucky because I grew up in Europe and everything there was still fundamental, so I learned all the basics."

Bryant was born in Philadelphia but moved to Europe when he was 6 because his father, former NBA player Joe Bryant, moved overseas to continue his professional basketball career.

"I think we're doing a tremendous disservice to our young basketball players right now," Bryant said. "That's something that definitely needs to be fixed and it's going to definitely be one of the things that I focus on."