Even after retiring from the NBA, Kobe Bryant remained close to the Los Angeles Lakers organization and was able to build relationships with young players who would join the team. The likes of Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Josh Hart gave the Lakers an extremely talented young core at the time.
It was Kuzma who would last the longest of all the young core Lakers, staying with the team after the others were traded and ultimately playing a huge role in the team’s 2020 NBA championship run. Kuzma has also since been eliminated, but he still cherishes his time with the franchise and the relationship he forged with Kobe himself.
Kuzma recently appeared on The Draymond Green Show and discussed his relationship with Kobe and the lessons he takes home from the Lakers legend:
“You know, the most important thing he always said was ‘keep the main thing, the main thing’, that was one thing. And just two, it was like my North Star. You won’t make it maybe never or whatever, but that’s what you get out of it, that’s what you’re trying to achieve So the ultimate professional, taking care of your body, playing every game, having that type of mentality I’m here for a reason that’s my goal My goal tonight is to kill My goal tonight is to help my team win Having someone like that at the start of my career has everything changed for me.
“I could say the same about Bron coming in Year 2 and seeing him from a player’s perspective because, you know, Kobe was there, but he was gone and retired at that point. , so it was like word of mouth, but Bron I’m really seeing it too. Just having this relationship with Kobe, that was it. I still have the texts, like we never deleted them. Just some things to go back to, things to think about, he was so smart about everything. Putting you in a game of things you wouldn’t even think about. The attention to detail that he had in basketball that he had in life, he had in business, he had in relationships and that’s what I want for my life.
The great thing about Kobe is that his talks and advice were never limited to the basketball court. As Kuzma noted, Bryant had the same level of focus and shooting on the court that he did on it and that’s something the now Wizards forward wants for himself as well.
Even though he never played with Kobe, Kuzma had the opportunity to work with and learn from all-time great Lakers and it’s something he will forever treasure.
DeRozan signs four-year deal to continue replacing Bryant’s shoe line
One of the ways Kobe Bryant’s legacy lives on is through his hugely popular shoe line. There was a ton of celebration when Bryant’s wife Vanessa and Nike reached an agreement to keep the line after falling out.
Now Nike has reach an agreement to keep DeMar DeRozan as one of the main representatives of the Lakers legend’s shoe line for the next four years. As a Southern California native, DeRozan has been open about his love and admiration for Kobe and that’s surely something that means a lot to the All-Star.