Kobe Bryant Puts Positive Twist on Participation Trophies

Former Los Angeles Lakers guard, and future Hall of Fame inductee, Kobe Bryant has won a lot of things in his lifetime — too many to even begin to list. Five NBA championships, 18 All Star selections and 11 All-Defensive first team nominations are just a fraction of the career achievements for the 39 year-old.

Many kids, while growing up, could only dream of such heights. Many kids are also taught the wrong way to go about learning the game they love. While grade school, middle school and high school sports are a lot of fun both to play and to watch as a parent, sometimes it gets out of hand when it comes to nurturing the kids a bit too much.

Over the past few years, there has been a growing debate on what are called participation trophies. These are awards handed out to players and teams who simply showed up to play the game, regardless of what position they finished or if they even won a single game during their season.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker and current New England Patriots defender James Harrison was famous for telling the media that he is going to give his kids’ participation trophies back a couple years ago, which then began the popular question to many different athletes: “How do you feel about participation trophies?”

Thursday night, Bryant appeared on Jimmy Kimmel’s late night show and was able to promote his new project, Go Basketball. During his stint on the show, Bryant was asked about his feelings on participation trophies.

“I hate them. It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.”

Kimmel then asked, “Are they allowed in the house?”

“The team that I coached, last year, we played in a tournament. We played uh, we came in fifth place. So you know, it’s okay, we did alright, we’ll do better next time sort of thing. And we’re getting ready to leave, and the tournament supervisor said, ‘No you guys have to stay. You get trophies.’

“‘The trophies are for fifth place? What is going — what is this?” Bryant laughed.

“And so, he hands us the trophies. And the kids all standing there with the trophies are just completely pissed. So I asked one of the kids, ‘What are you going to do with that trophy?’

“‘I’m going to break it!’ he says. So I said, ‘Alright, alright, everybody bring it in. Bring it in. Parents too, bring it in.”

Bryant went on to give his players a bit of a motivational speech.

“I said, ‘Listen, none of us want this trophy, but don’t break it. Take it home, put it right there in your mantle in your room and every day you look at that trophy, remind yourself of what you’ll never win again. And use it that way,'” Bryant said.

“So you can lay there and remind yourself of what a loser you are,” Kimmel joked.

Both Bryant and Kimmel laughed, but both also knew how correct Bryant was in his usage of such a trophy.

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