Former Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma has never teamed up with legendary Kobe Bryant, but has trained with the five-time NBA champion.
Kuzma revealed the incredible story of her training with Bryant in her article in The Players’ Tribune, “To My Lakers Family”.
“So this dinner is with Kobe, isn’t it – the one I was telling you about ?? Well, maybe a year goes by before I have the courage to hit him again, ”Kuzma explained. Finally, however, the following summer I texted him like, ‘Yo, Kobe, we need to practice. I want to go to the gym with you.
“And it was the same type of situation as the first time… .. where I hit him two, three times, trying to get into this workout.” He’s a busy man. He travels. He does things. But towards the end of the summer, probably around August, it hit me out of the blue. He’s just the kind of person he was. It was Kobe, you know what I mean ?? He was spontaneous and just did some shit on the fly. So I’m in LA, it’s Saturday night, and I’m about to go out with some friends. Then I get a random text at 9.45am, just when I’m outside.
“’Yo, man, meet me in Newport at 8:00 am Sunday morning.’
“It’s Sunday morning like the next morning. So I call my friends I’m about to go out to eat like, ‘Yo, I’m canceling. I have training tomorrow. See you later. And I just hung up the phone. Newport was about an hour away from me, so I wake up super, super early. Like 5:45 am and leave my house around 6:30 am. There is no one on the road, so I slowly accelerate to Newport because I can’t wait. And I just had this vision of Kobe in my head, he was just at the gym early, already there and waiting for me and sweating or shit. I arrive around 7.15 am. Forty-five minutes early. Of course, this fucking guy doesn’t show up until 8:05 am – and we have an eight o’clock workout! And that was totally fine, but just hilarious for me because obviously I’m like I’m sweating bullets that Kobe was going to happen before me.
“We are entering training, and it is literally the hardest training I have ever had in my life.
“And like I said, it’s August. It’s pretty close to the season, where I generally think I’m in pretty good shape. I run, I do hills, I do a bunch of conditioning things. But Kobe says to me, ‘Okay, we’re going to do this move, make this move. We got 25 reps of each movement. Usually you’re in a gym and it’s like doing 10, doing 12, whatever. We do 25 of each thing, man. I’m done with this training, I’m completely, completely tired. And I thought it was the worst workout of my life because I miss shots and stuff. But you know, we end up strong, we shake hands and we go.
“I meet Rob the next day and he says, ‘Oh man, Kobe said you all had a great workout. He said you were in very good shape. And I was like, fucking way he said that.
“So funny, man.
“A little compliment from Kobe, that’s really all it takes. I will tell my grandchildren the moment Kobe said I was in good shape. You keep stuff like that with you.
It’s amazing how much influence Bryant has had on so many young players like Kuzma. The Laker legend tragically died in a helicopter crash in January 2020, but it’s clear his legacy will live on forever.
Kuzma, who is now with the Washington Wizards following the trade with Russell Westbrook, is looking to make a name for himself on a new roster.
For his career, Kuzma averages 15.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game while shooting 44.8% from the field and 33.8% from 3.