As the load management debate in the NBA continues, one of the factors that gets brought up is the increasingly demanding schedule that AAU players face.
LeBron James has some strong feelings regarding this subject, as his sons Bronny and Bryce both play for AAU teams.
“These kids are going into the league already banged up, and I think parents and coaches need to know [that]… well, AAU coaches don’t give a f–k,” James told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. “AAU coaches couldn’t give a damn about a kid and what his body is going through.”
James continued, “It was a few tournaments where my kids—Bronny and Bryce—had five games in one day and that’s just f–king out of control. That’s just too much. And there was a case study where I read a report. I don’t know who wrote it not too long ago, and it was talking about the causes and [kid’s] bodies already being broken down and they contributed it to AAU basketball and how many games that these tournaments are having for the [financial benefit]. So, I’m very conscious for my own son because that’s all I can control, and if my son says he’s sore or he’s tired, he’s not playing.“
Former NBA player and coach Earl Watson also has strong feelings on the issue.
Some of the top high school players in the country play approximately 30 AAU games a year, plus their high school’s 25-35 game schedule, according to Yahoo Sports.
All of these games don’t even include practices, scrimmages or pickup basketball.
James also said that is it very important that parents do their homework and educate themselves on the difference between a quality AAU program and the ones that are out to seek money and running kids into the ground.
“The best programs are the EYBL. There’s no question about it,” James told Yahoo Sports. “They play one or two games a day. It’s the off-brand tournaments [that are the problem]. It’s those tournaments in those small cities. There’s no Whole Foods in those small cities. Those kids are eating McDonald’s, bro. They’re eating bad, and they’re playing five, six games a day. Come on, man. That’s what it is.”