Even after his retirement from the NBA, Kobe Bryant remained close with the Los Angeles Lakers organization and was able to forge relationships with the 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 Lakers’ young core, remaining with the team after the rest were traded and ultimately playing a huge part in the team’s 2020 NBA Championship run. Kuzma has since been dealt away as well, but he still treasures 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 keeps with him from the Lakers legend:
“You know, the biggest thing he always ever said was ‘keep the main thing, the main thing,’ that was one thing. And two just, that was like my north star. You may never get there or whatever, but it’s what you get out of it is what you’re trying to reach. So, the ultimate professional, taking care of your body, playing every single game, having this type of mentality like, I’m here for a reason this is my purpose. My purpose tonight is to kill. My purpose tonight is to go out help my team win. Having somebody like that early on in my career, changed everything for me.
“I could say the same thing about Bron coming year 2 and seeing it from a player perspective cuz, you know, Kobe was here, but he was gone and retired at this point so it was like word of mouth, but Bron I’m really seeing it too. Just having that relationship with Kobe it was everything. I still have the text messages, like we just never deleted them. Just things to go back on, things to think of, he was just so smart about everything. Putting you on game of things you wouldn’t even think of. The attention to detail he had in basketball 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 discussions and advice were never limited to the basketball court. As Kuzma noted, Bryant had that same level of focus and fire off the court as he did on it and that is something that 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 the all-time Lakers great and that is something he will forever cherish.
DeRozan signs four-year deal to continue repping Bryant’s shoe line
One of the ways Kobe Bryant’s legacy continues to live on is through his extremely popular shoe line. There was a ton of celebration when Bryant’s wife Vanessa and Nike came to an agreement to keep the line going after falling out.
Now, Nike has come to an agreement to keep DeMar DeRozan as one of the main reps for 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 of Kobe and this is surely something that means a lot to the All-Star.
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