Former AAU Teammate Reveals How Kobe Bryant Was Going to Be Among the Greatest of All Time

Published 10/18/2021, 12:30 PM EDT
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. – JAN. 13, 2015. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant warms up before a game against the Miami Heat on Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


When Kobe Bryant passed away last year, it sent shock waves all over, whether it was the NBA fraternity, his family, friends, or even his fans. Many NBA players have come and gone, but the way he inspired the league, despite not being in the limelight when he was drafted, speaks volumes about him.

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In fact, his former AAU teammate Tim Thomas can also vouch for his greatness and how much he believed in himself. Looks like he always knew his potential and was aware of the insurmountable things he could achieve.

Kobe Bryant and the greatest AAU team

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Kobe Bryant is one of those players who made his way into the NBA without going to college, straight out of high school. However, he also played in the AAU, which is to date, considered one of the best squads that the New Jersey Patterson team ever assembled in 1994. It consisted of Bryant, Vince Carter, Tim Thomas, Rip Hamilton, and Kevin Freeman.

The way some of these players performed in the league is a testament to their talent. Carter’s dunks are some that will go down in history as one of the best, and Bryant’s legacy will forever be etched in the NBA’s iconic history. And let’s not forget Rip, who was one of the most vital starters in the Detroit Pistons’ 2004 NBA championship roster.

Tim’s career was not even nearly as great as these three, but they relied on him heavily as the bench scorer. And, as per Tim, the way Kobe believed in himself was unlike anyone else. He explained, “Just his confidence, his swag. I would say his determination as far as just knowing that he was halfway to his mark as far becoming one of the greatest players to have ever played the game.”

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The Mamba criticized the AAU repeatedly

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Unfortunately for the AAU, Bryant always spoke ill of them. In 2016, he claimed to hate it and that he believed that the AAU did not teach players anything right. Even before that, his disdain for them was clear when in 2015 he blatantly said, “AAU basketball is just killing us.” And that is just the gist of it.

Kobe Bryant answers questions during a press conference held at the Lakers training facility in El Segundo, Calif.. Thursday, July 15, 2004. Bryant chose the Lakers over the Clippers, remaining with the team he joined in 1996 at age 18 and later helped win three NBA championships. (Photo by Steve Grayson/WireImage)

The Lakers legend may have impressed everyone with his game in the AAU, but he was never really impressed with the way they brought up players. All things aside, at least it brought someone as brilliant as Kobe. Someone who changed the way the game is seen and played.

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DIVE DEEPER

When Kobe Bryant was Chosen to Save Adidas Straight Out of High School

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Yashima Bhatia

1710 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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