Bryant: European players more skilled | Inquirer Sports

Bryant: European players more skilled

/ 10:55 AM January 04, 2015

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, left, tries to shoot as Memphis Grizzlies forward Tayshaun Prince knocks the ball away during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 2, 2015, in Los Angeles. AP FILE PHOTO

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, left, tries to shoot as Memphis Grizzlies forward Tayshaun Prince knocks the ball away during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 2, 2015, in Los Angeles. AP FILE PHOTO

LOS ANGELES, United States – European youth basketball coaches are doing a better job of teaching the game’s fundamentals than their US counterparts, and the results show in the NBA, Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant says.

Bryant, speaking after the Lakers’ 109-106 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night, said that players such as the Grizzlies’ Spanish big man Marc Gasol — and his brother Pau — have been given a better background in basketball basics.

“In America, it’s a big problem for us,” Bryant said, in comments reported by the Los Angeles Times. “We’re not teaching players how to play all-around basketball.

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“That’s why you have Pau and you have Marc and the reason why 90 percent of the (San Antonio) Spurs roster are European players, because they have more skills.”

In fact the reigning champion Spurs are a veritable United Nations of basketball, with a team featuring French players Tony Parker and Boris Diaw along with Argentina’s Manu Ginobili. Italy, Brazil, Australia and Canada are also represented on their roster as well as the United States.

Bryant said his own skills owe much to the childhood years he spent in Italy when his father, Joe Bryant, played basketball there.

Had all of his early basketball education come in the United States, Bryant said, “I probably wouldn’t be able to dribble with my left, shoot with my left, have good footwork.”

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TAGS: Basketball, Kobe Bryant, LA Lakers, NBA

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