Kyle Kuzma's days as a Laker may be over, but the experience and memories he shared with the franchise will last forever.
Reflecting on his early days in the league, the now ex-Laker, Kyle Kuzma, recalled one particular memory with his former teammate, Kobe Bryant, who apparently had him completely drained during their first practice together.
Here's what happened:
“..I wake up super, super early,” said Kuz. “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,” continued the former Lakers forward. “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 Lakers GM Rob Pelinka 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.
There are a number of these Kobe "workout" stories, and they all pretty much go the same way. Somebody joins or stumbles upon Bryant in the gym, catches a glimpse at his ridiculous worth ethic, and leaves in complete shock and awe.
In this case, Kuzma came in thinking he could keep up. As a youngster in the league practicing with a Kobe in his mid-30s, there was no reason for him to think he'd have a hard time keeping pace.
Of course, it was a pretty wild wake-up call when he left that workout in complete exhaustion. It must have paid off, though, when he heard Bryant gave him a compliment.
Either way, it's a moment that stuck with Kuz and has become a story he's able to share over a year after Kobe's death. That's got to count for something.