Beyond producing a successful rookie season, another means by which Kyle Kuzma endeared himself to Los Angeles Lakers fans was through his embracing of Kobe Bryant and fiery mindset and approach the five-time champion played with.
Arranged by Lakers general manager and Bryant’s former agent, Rob Pelinka, the two met for dinner last season, sparking the beginning of a friendship. Bryant commended Kuzma for his thirst of knowledge and desire to improve.
They have since remained in contact, and Kuzma was among the players who sought out Bryant for a private workout this past summer. And when the Lakers faced the Memphis Grizzlies earlier this week, Kuzma made a shot similar to one his mentor has drained on multiple occasions.
“I texted him the highlight. Made sure he saw that,” Kuzma said after Wednesday’s practice. “He just laughed. He’s always been a good resource since I met him. Anytime I have questions or send him film, he’ll hit me back pretty quickly and tell me what he thinks. It definitely helps me out a lot.”
While Kuzma has often discussed learning from Bryant and taking from his approach, he put more of an emphasis on his overall desire to continue improving. “I’m just always super confident because my work ethic,” Kuzma said.
“I really just tried to build off a good year, get better, work on the things I wasn’t good at. I think now people are seeing it, especially when I have the ball in my hands a little bit more.”