Kobe Bryant is an NBA icon that players across the world have looked up to for years. The closest comparable player in terms of impact has been LeBron James, someone who himself had been mentored by Kobe Bryant earlier in his career.

Kyle Kuzma was lucky enough to form a close relationship with both men because he was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017. Kobe was around to guide the young Lakers rookies after his 2016 retirement and 

built a friendship with Kuz. LeBron joined the team in 2018 and mentored Kuzma until he was traded away in 2021 for Russell Westbrook.

Kuzma opened up on the impact that both men had on him during his time with the Lakers on Draymond Green's podcast: "The biggest thing he always said was 'keep the main thing, the main thing'. 

That was one, and two, that was like my North Star, 'you may never get there but what you get out of it is what you're trying to reach'. The ultimate professional, take care of your body, playing every single game, having this type of  mentality

like 'I am here for a reason. This is my purpose. Having somebody like that early on in my career changed everything for me."

Kyle further stated, "I could say the same thing about Bron coming in Year 2 and seeing it from a player perspective. Kobe was here, but he was retired by that point, so it was word of mouth. With LeBron, I am really seeing it too."

"Having that relationship with Kobe, man, was everything. I still have the text messages, I never deleted them. Things to go back on, things to think of life, like he was just so smart about everything. 

Not just the game, even things you think of. The attention to detail he had in basketball? He had in life, he had in business, he had in relationships. That's what I want for my life."