Kyle Kuzma opens up on legendary workout he had with Kobe Bryant

Peter Dewey
5 Min Read

Former Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma was never teammates with the legendary Kobe Bryant, but he did get to work out with the five-time NBA champion.

Kuzma revealed the amazing story of his workout with Bryant in his article in The Players’ Tribune, “To My Lakers Family.”

“So that dinner happens with Kobe, right — the one I was telling you about?? Well, maybe a year goes by before I get the nerve to hit him up again,” Kuzma explained. “Finally, though, the next summer I text him like, ‘Yo, Kobe, we have to work out. I want to get in the gym with you.’

“And it was the same type of situation as the first time….. where I’m hitting him two, three times, trying to get in this workout. He’s a busy man. He’s traveling. He’s doing things. But then near the end of the summer, probably around like August, he hits me up out the blue. That’s just the type of person he was. He was Kobe, you know what I mean?? He was spontaneous and would just do shit on the fly. So I’m in L.A., it’s Saturday night, and I’m about to go out with a couple friends. Then I get a random text at like 9:45, right as I’m out the door.

“‘Yo, fella, meet me at Newport at 8:00 AM Sunday morning.’

“That’s Sunday morning as in the next morning. So I call up my friends I’m about to go off to eat with like, ‘Yo, I’m canceling. I got a workout tomorrow. See y’all later.’ And I just hung up the phone. Newport was like an hour away from me, so I wake up super, super early. Like 5:45 and leave my house at like 6:30. Nobody’s on the road, so I’m low-key speeding getting to Newport because I just can’t wait. And I just got this vision of Kobe in my head, him just being in the gym early, already there and waiting for me and sweating or some shit. I get there at about 7:15. Forty-five minutes early. Of course, this fucking guy doesn’t show up til 8:05 — and we got an eight o’clock workout! And it was totally fine, but just hilarious to me because I’m obviously like sweating bullets that Kobe was gonna get there before me.

“We get into the workout, and it’s literally the hardest workout I’ve ever had in my life.

“And like I said, it’s August. That’s close enough to the season, where I’m typically thinking I’m in pretty good shape. I’m running, I’m doing hills, I’m doing a bunch of conditioning things. But Kobe’s telling me, ‘Alright, we’re going to do this move, do that move. We got 25 reps of each movement.’ Usually you’re in a gym and it’s like make 10, make 12, whatever. We’re doing 25 of each thing, man. I get done with this workout, I’m completely, completely dead tired. And I thought it was the worst workout of my life because I’m missing shots and stuff. But you know, we finish strong, shake hands and leave.

“I run into Rob the next day, and he says, ‘Aw man, Kobe said that y’all had a great workout. He said that you were in really good shape.’ And I was like, No fucking way he said that.

“So funny, man.

“One little compliment from Kobe, that’s really all it takes. I’ll be telling my grandkids about the time Kobe said I was in shape. You keep stuff like that with you.”

It’s amazing to see the influence that Bryant had on so many young players like Kuzma. The Laker legend tragically passed away in a helicopter crash in January of 2020, but it’s clear his legacy will live on forever.

Kuzma, who is now with the Washington Wizards following the Russell Westbrook trade, 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 percent from the field and 33.8 percent from 3.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.