Kyle Kuzma on LeBron James: 'He's Just a Good Dude ... It's Not Really Fake'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 15, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers forwards Kyle Kuzma (0) and LeBron James (23) celebrate the team's impending win over the Houston Rockets, in the final minute of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Michael Wyke/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma praised teammate LeBron James during an appearance on ESPN's First Take on Wednesday. 

When asked about LeBron, Kuzma complimented him for the person he is rather than merely what he does on the basketball court:

"He's just a good dude. Like, you see everything that he does and it's not really fake. He cares about his teammates. He's always hitting the group chat with things and even now, even when we're not playing, you know, he's a real person and you can talk to him anytime about situations.

"Especially for me, just being a young player, kind of idolizing him when I was growing up as one of my favorite players, being able to play with him and really see what he does on a daily basis and really just pick things from him. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and that's how I kind of look at it outside of just him being my friend and one of the greatest basketball players, you know?"

Kuzma and James have been teammates for two years, and prior to the 2019-20 season being suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, they had the Lakers in first place in the Western Conference at 49-14.

While the Lakers didn't perform as well as hoped last season after signing James due largely to the fact that many of the team's key players missed significant time due to injury, that hasn't been an issue so far this season.

L.A. acquired Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans for Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and three first-round draft picks, and the combination of LeBron and Davis has been perhaps the best duo in the NBA.

With LeBron and Davis leading the way, and the likes of Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green, Avery Bradley and Dwight Howard lending support, the Lakers have a legitimate chance to go all the way if and when the season resumes.

Playing alongside James is a dream come true for many players since he is a 16-time All-Star, four-time NBA MVP, three-time NBA champion and three-time NBA Finals MVP. He is also in the conversation with Michael Jordan for being the greatest NBA player of all time.

It isn't necessarily easy to exist in the shadow of a legend, though, which led to Kyrie Irving requesting a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers during their run to four straight NBA Finals with LeBron leading the way.

Kuzma clearly respects James as a man in addition to what he does on the court, which could explain why so many players on the Lakers roster were performing at a high level in an effort to support LeBron during the 2019-20 season.

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