Kyle Kuzma points to one specific aspect of Kobe Bryant’s game he’s tried to implement into his own

Ryan Ward
2 Min Read

Before Kobe Bryant’s tragic passing nearly a year ago, Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma had formed a close bond with the five-time NBA champion.

Kuzma was like a sponge soaking up as much knowledge as possible from his mentor, and following Lakers practice on Wednesday was asked what he’s tried to take from Bryant’s game.

“I think more so since I’ve been in the NBA it’s kind of been like the mentality, which is a hard thing to do and consistently do when you think about that ‘Mamba Mentality,'” Kuzma said. “It’s something that’s a lifestyle. Every day, every possession type of thing for me I try to strive to do. Trying to play with a relentless pursuit every possession.

“Obviously, he was a great shot-maker. … Great competitor, but one thing pencil him was competing on every possession and having that relentless pursuit. 

“I think that’s one thing that as a young player in the NBA or in college whatever. That’s what you admire.” 

Prior to the 2020-21 season getting underway, Kuzma signed a contract extension with the Lakers. Rumors had circulated that Kuzma may not be in the franchise’s long-term plans, but a deal was struck, giving both sides some leverage in the situation.

Although not a starter with minutes that change from game to game, Kuzma has played an important role on the Lakers this season. He may not be the third star the team was hoping for behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but he’s adjusted well to his role on the squad.

The 25-year-old is averaging 10.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game while shooting 44.1 percent from the floor and 40.3 percent from beyond the arc in 15 games thus far.

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Ryan is a veteran sportswriter who has covered the NBA and NFL for nearly a decade. Along with numerous exclusive interviews with professional athletes, Ryan has been credentialed by the Los Angeles Lakers since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RyanWardLA.