Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma has exceeded all pre-draft expectations for a late first-round pick, ascending into the team’s future plans and looking like a star in the making for the franchise.
Kuzma already has a Nike deal, but his ascendance (coupled with his landing in Los Angeles, the NBA’s second-largest media market) has surely opened up other opportunities for the first-year forward. Kuzma famously had dinner with Kobe Bryant a few months ago, after which the rookie drew praise from the five-time champion.
Recently, Kuzma revealed in a Q&A with and he revealed Rolling Stone that the Lakers’ legend warned him not to get too carried away with the trappings of his newfound fame:
From Kobe, just stay level-headed. Just work as hard as possible. I think those are just the main two things that I really got from him that he preaches that I got from him.
Bryant’s advice to Kuzma is hardly surprising coming from him, because despite Bryant’s copious endorsement portfolio, he was always most focused on the work that got him those opportunities in the first place.
Kuzma has openly spoken about how much more film he’s been watching as the season has gone on, which has already forced him to make improvements defensively, as well as finding new ways to attack the ways that defenses are covering him.
As long as Kuzma continues to not get too high on himself and focuses on continuing to grow as a player like Bryant suggests, then it looks like a near-certainty he’ll be a significant contributor for the Lakers for years to come.
If he makes a few more leaps as unexpected as his breakout rookie campaign, he might just end up becoming a star.
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