Although Kobe Bryant has remained steadfast in his refusal to establish any sort of formal ties to the Los Aneles Lakers or NBA, he’s consistently preached that he’s available for anyone who seeks his mentorship, advice or any other form of a relationship.
Several players have taken Bryant up on that offer, with young Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum being among the most recent. That sparked a bit of controversy for a couple reasons.
One, some chose to question why Bryant would assist a member of the Lakers’ longtime rival. Particularly with both teams again on the rise and in a dream scenario soon meeting in the NBA Finals.
Additionally, it was revealed that after watching film of Tatum and seeing similarities to himself, that Bryant asked why the Lakers wouldn’t have selected the young forward with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 Draft.
His comment was presented as being lighthearted and in a joking manner, but it nonetheless drew a response from LaVar Ball.
As for Bryant and his workouts, he also has hosted Kyle Kuzma this summer, which he explained during an interview on “The Rich Eisen Show:”
“Jayson Tatum’s been down, Kuzma’s been down. I have a couple more in the books coming down later in the summer. … First thing to do is self-assess: What do you feel comfortable doing on the court? What don’t you feel comfortable doing? It starts with that. You’ve got to be able to look inside. Coaches can only tell you but so much. You know what you can and can’t do, and you have to be honest about it. Once you get to that, then it’s, ‘OK, let’s put you through it.’”
Not only has Bryant worked with Kuzma, but he’s encouraged by the growth he continues to show:
“He looks great, man. He’s got good rhythm. He has the ability to disassociate movements, which gives him a fluidity when he plays. He can shoot the ball, he’s worked on his midrange game a lot, post-up game looks strong. I’m looking forward to him having a good year.”
Kuzma has made little secret of his admiration for Bryant. Similarly, the five-time champion has regularly heaped praise on the young forward. Kuzma sought out Bryant during his rookie season, and the two connected for dinner.
Kuzma is looking to build on an NBA All-Rookie First Team selection, and is confident the Lakers are primed for another leap forward now that LeBron James is leading the young core.