Student Well-Being

NBA Star Kobe Bryant Encourages ‘Healthy Competition’ in Youth Sports

By Bryan Toporek — January 16, 2014 1 min read

In a sit-down discussion with former president Bill Clinton on Monday evening, NBA superstar Kobe Bryant suggested that “healthy competition” needs to remain in youth sports, per ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne.

“There’s a lot of people out there who don’t believe in having healthy competition,” Bryant said. “I think we have to make it enjoyable and for kids to understand that there’s a certain spirit of competition that’s fun. It’s not nasty, it’s not aggressive, it’s just fun competition, and I think when you have that kids will go out and enjoy themselves. They’ll pick up their activity instead of just plopping down in front of the TV.”

Bryant and Clinton took part in the opening of the third annual Clinton Health Matters Conference in La Quinta, Calif., a three-day event focused on “activating wellness in every generation.” The NBA star and the former president specifically focused on youth sports during their conversation, which was moderated by ESPN’s Mike Greenberg.

“This may be the least active generation of young people in history,” Clinton said, per Shelburne. “The problem is that this can have lasting, damaging effects on all of them and actually wind up shortening their life expectancy. So we’re doing this because there are simple solutions to this problem that will pay massive dividends.”

According to research presented at the American Heart Association’s scientific sessions in November, children across the world are approximately 15 percent worse off in terms of cardiovascular fitness than their parents were back when they were young. Between 4 and 6 percent of all U.S. youth are “severely obese,” according to an American Heart Association scientific statement published online in the journal

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.