Rookie Kyle Kuzma ‘in awe’ after dinner with Lakers legend Kobe Bryant
By Bill Oram
LOS ANGELES — Kyle Kuzma stared at the figure across the table from him on Tuesday night and unleashed a steady stream of questions.
About mentality, about approach, about success.
What else do you talk to Kobe Bryant about?
Kuzma spent the evening quizzing the retired legend at a West Hollywood steakhouse; a young Lakers star getting acquainted with an old one.
“Just work,” Kuzma said. “That’s cliché, but that’s what he stands for, that’s what he values. That’s what I value. So that was really the message.”
Kuzma said he reached out to Bryant to forge a relationship and that their discussion was very detail-oriented, focusing on “a lot of little things within basketball that go a long way.”
Since late in his career, Bryant has established himself as a mentor for players throughout the league.
Bryant retired after 20 seasons with the Lakers in 2016, but found a new link to the organization when Magic Johnson hired his long-time agent, Rob Pelinka, as general manager last spring. Pelinka and Bryant still communicate frequently.
“He’s just really enjoyed the way Kyle’s attacked his rookie year,” Pelinka said. “The mentality he’s played with. For him to grab dinner with him, swap war stories, is invaluable. And I think Kyle was in awe by everything he heard.”
Pelinka said he helped facilitate the dinner, but that it was initiated by Kuzma.
So far, the meeting between Bryant and Kuzma is unique among young Lakers. Bryant has not met with second overall pick Lonzo Ball, sources said.
“I want to be good,” Kuzma said before Wednesday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers. “Why not learn from one of the best? So I took that approach. Of course, it was cool. But I had a lot of questions and I was really excited just to get to know him, meet him, learn from him.”
Naturally, Pelinka […]