Kyle Kuzma is in the process of saying goodbye to the Los Angeles Lakers and notes that one of his persistent goals with the team was to simply beat teammate LeBron James to the gym.
Kuzma reflected in The Players’ Tribune about his time with the Lakers and indicated that his interactions with franchise legends also included the connection he made with the ultra-competitive James.
“But you know, that really just speaks to how many people I’ve had the chance to meet and build relationships with here,” Kuzma wrote. “There’s Kobe [Bryant], but I’ve also had great mentors like Magic [Johnson], and Robert Horry (he’s always checking in), and James Worthy. And having LeBron here, you obviously can’t get better than that. I was always trying to beat LeBron to the gym. I don’t think he even knew. That was just a goal I had for myself. And other guys, too. Having Anthony [Davis] be the type of defensive player he is has really inspired me. Having [Rajon] Rajon teach me the essence of watching film has been so important.”
James has played 18 NBA seasons and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. That career longevity has been due to his tireless work ethic, which has obviously rubbed off on Kuzma.
During the three years that Kuzma and James played together with the Lakers, the team experienced a number of highs and lows.
Those lows included frustrating injuries to James during the 2018-19 season and this past year, which ruined any potential NBA championship run.
However, Kuzma and James were able to be a part of the Lakers’ first title in a decade, when they worked with teammates to capture the NBA championship within the league bubble.
That experience is something that may take a while for Kuzma to experience again with his new team, the Washington Wizards. Still, he can use the knowledge he gained with James and other Lakers greats to make a bigger impact in the future.