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Kyle Kuzma compares himself to Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant, Kyle Kuzma

Very few people expected Kyle Kuzma to have such a big impact on a young Lakers team this early in his career. Picked 27th overall in last year’s Draft, he was not expected to be a big highlight amongst rookies. Thus far, Kuzma’s amazing play has made him as attention-worthy as fellow Lakers rookie and 2nd overall pick Lonzo Ball. How could he fall so deep into the first round when he is playing this good? Probably what helped to set him on fire was a dinner with Kobe Bryant arranged by Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka.

In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, Kuzma spoke about how it felt for Kobe to be interested in him and compared his mentality with Bryant’s:

“Me and him share the same mentality and approach towards basketball, and that’s definitely one of the top people you want to meet, especially being a Laker. That’s one of the players I looked up to growing up. It was pretty cool that I was able meet him and I could use him as a resource in my future as a pro. So that’s definitely important to me.”

The 22-year old also spoke about the best advice he got from Bryant:

“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.”

Kuzma has certainly used some of Kobe’s advice to surprise many around the league. He averages 16.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, and two assists in 45.5 percent shooting from the field and 37 percent from three in 31.2 minutes per game.

The rookie expects to keep growing along with a core of young players that includes him, Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Larry Nance Jr.