On January 26th, when the NBA lost one of the best players ever in Kobe Bryant, the Lakers organization was shell-shocked. The players, especially, were torn up after hearing such heartbreaking news.
This was because of Kobe’s special relationship with all the players. Even though he was away from the court, the Mamba was a mentor for many young players on the team. He would often come to the Staples Center to support the team.
One of the most affected players was Lakers forward, Kyle Kuzma. Kuz shared a throwback video in his latest Instagram story. In a year-old video, Kobe and Kuzma shared special moment pre-game. In the caption, Kuzma wrote, “Family for ever and ever.”
Kuzma never played a single minute alongside Kobe on the Los Angeles Lakers. However, he had a close relationship with the Hall of Famer as a pupil. His passing took a real toll on the then 24-year-old forward.
The 25-year-old certainly has a point to prove this season. After a disappointing 2019-20, Kuzma has to step up this season in order to cement his position on the team.
He recorded some wonderful performances from the bench in the first 4 games. If he continues to do so, he might become an integral player for the Lakers soon.
How the loss of Kobe Bryant inspired the Lakers?
Kobe Bryant’s impact on the Lakers organization is immeasurable. Rarely has a player remained with a team for so long as Kobe did with the Lakers. He has seen the franchise at its best and at its worst but still persevered with the team.
When he retired from the game, Kobe attended almost all the home games at Staples Center, he ensured that he was there to support the team. Not only was he an icon, but he was also a mentor to many of the players.
So much so that even LeBron James considered Kobe as his mentor. When he passed away, it was a hard pill to digest for everyone. The Lakers were broken and so were the players.
The players found a new reason to win the championship. They wanted to win it as a tribute to the Laker great. The team even had special jerseys dedicated to him called the Mamba jersey.
The team looked in danger when they had a string of losses. But they channeled their Mamba mentality to get over the hump and cruise in the Playoffs.
One of the most memorable moments for the team was when Anthony Davis hit a game-winning shot against the Denver Nuggets in the Conference Finals.
After the shot AD shouted ‘MAMBA’. Later he revealed that Kobe’s numerous game-winning shots were an inspiration for him to hit that buzzer-beater.
Kobe was an inspiration to the Laker Nation. When the team won the championship, it was more than a fitting tribute to ‘the Mamba.’
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