being Laker It was always a double-edged sword. If you’re awesome and you win, you’re a legend and a darling in one of the greatest cities in America. If you lose or underperform, you will be criticized by both Laker haters and Laker fans at an alarming rate. It’s one of the reasons Kobe says he doesn’t believe in recruiting someone to come to Los Angeles.
“The thing about this franchise is that you don’t need a recruit to come here. It takes someone special to want to play for this franchise and take the pressure that comes along with playing for this franchise.” Kobe Bryant told ESPN’s Jalen Rose in 2018. “The pressure of following in the footsteps of the Magic, me, and the dynasty that we had. It takes a special person to do that. If I need to convince you to come here and carry that legacy forward, you’re not the one it’s going to be.” over here “.
On Tuesday, Kyle Kuzma shared similar thoughts on ESPN’s “NBA Today” about his time at Laker and the challenges that came with wearing the purple and gold while LeBron was on the team.
“Obviously when you play in a big market, you play in Los Angeles, you always have a lot of drama, right? And then when you play with one of the best players in LeBron, you add more drama. And you have to fight through it. You have to You’re strong-minded… When you’re a league player, you have to be ready for that moment, and sometimes it’s tough. There’s a lot of outside noise, there’s a lot of white noise, and playing in those kinds of markets, it definitely touches on your mental strength and challenges it as well.”
“You probably watched every Laker game [last year]. I haven’t seen much this year. Things are definitely very different… When you play in Los Angeles, you always have a lot of drama.”
– ‘(_Talkin_NBA) November 15, 2022
Not surprisingly, Kyle Kuzma shares similar thoughts with Kobe about the stress of being a Laker. Chat with Kobe and learn a lot from him through training sessions, dinners, and Talks about trade rumors with Bryant. The different aspect of Kuzma’s experience is his time with LeBron. With the rise of Stan culture during the LeBron era and his fans’ commitment to his success, it has created a scenario where players are in a losing situation. If the team wins “LeBron is awesome”; If they lose, “LeBron needs Player X’s help.”
Add to that all files Lakers And haters of Lebron James, you have a lot of eyes on every game and every person. For example, the Lakers finished last year with a sub-. 500 record, still awful with a 3-10 record, but since they have LeBron James and the Lakers, they have 39 nationally televised games—fourth highest in the league. That’s a lot of eyes are on you, as many are cheering for your success as they are hoping for your demise.
Ultimately, as Kobe said, it takes someone special to play for this franchise. You have to be a star in your role, and put in 100% effort. If you do, you can shine and achieve success here which will strengthen your career. Malik Monk, Alex Caruso, and Lonzo Ball come to mind as players who had great seasons with the Lakers and earned huge paychecks afterward. The same goes for stars like Pau Gasol, Anthony Davis and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. They all went to another level as NBA Kings due to their success with LakeShow.
However, for every Anthony Davis and Malik Monk, there’s a Dwight Howard or Chris Mayhem. The player who hasn’t made it or hasn’t been able to understand the pressure and demand for excellence that this franchise requires if you want to survive for the long haul. So where does Kyle Kuzma fall on that spectrum? I think he’s more like a monk than a mehem. He was a star in his role, got paid, and won a starring role. The trade that dealt him out of Los Angeles was an attempt to get into a three-star team, and we’ve seen how that turned out. I don’t see Kuzma’s comments as sour grapes or unfair criticism, just the facts of being a Laker in the age of LeBron James.