Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma has a deep bond with Hornets rookie Miles Bridges

first_imgLOS ANGELES — Before the draft last summer, Miles Bridges had never spent much time in Southern California. But after being selected No. 12 overall and landing in Charlotte, he spent a week enjoying a Los Angeles summer.His host? Kyle Kuzma.The two share the hometown of Flint, Mich., and have spent a lot of time on the court together.“I grew up with Kyle,” he said. “Just to see us at this level, it’s definitely a big deal for me.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersAveraging 7.1 points and 3.9 rebounds off the bench for the Hornets, Bridges is a potential building block for Charlotte in the coming years. And like Kuzma, he hopes to one day be another Flint native to establish himself in the NBA.It’s a small circle that also includes JaVale McGee, who Bridges never got to know since he was 10 years older. But he, Kuzma and Denver’s Monte Morris are all from the same generation of Michigan grassroots hoops, and they’ve tracked each other for a long time.When Bridges was considering going pro after his freshman year at Michigan State, Kuzma – who played three years at Utah – was one of the players whose opinion he valued the most.“I felt like the best decision for me was to stay,” Bridges said. “And he came out, and he gave me good advice on that because he stayed in college too. So I appreciated it.”Now that they’re in the pros, Friday’s game was the second time the two forwards have faced off. Early in the first quarter, Kuzma crossed over Bridges to hit an open jumper, then playfully wagged his finger as he ran back. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img Apparently, there’s more for the rookie to learn.Beyond expanding his game, Bridges would like to get more involved in helping his hometown, which is still experiencing a water crisis. Both Kuzma and McGee have worked with nonprofits to help Flint – Bridges couldn’t help staff Kuzma’s summer camp last year because of a scheduling conflict, but he expects he’ll make it in future years.“They definitely motivate me to do more stuff for Flint, and that’s what I’m gonna do this summer,” he said. “Seeing those guys doing what I want to do definitely inspires me.”BORREGO, PARKER HONOR MANU GINOBILIEven though the Hornets got two days off between games before playing the Lakers, not everyone got to enjoy the California sunshine for that fleeting break.Instead, head coach James Borrego and veteran point guard Tony Parker flew to their old digs in San Antonio to be present for Manu Ginobili’s jersey retirement. Borrego, a former Spurs assistant, and Parker, a longtime teammate of Ginobili’s, weren’t about to miss the Argentine forward’s honor.“I was honored just to be there: shed some tears, clap my hands, hug him,” Borrego said. “Just talk about amazing Manu stories, the type of person he is and was, and just the type of competitor he was. So it was a great moment just to be a Spur and for all of us embracing that one more time.”Between 1999 and 2015, the Spurs or the Lakers won the Western Conference a combined 13 times, with Ginobili on hand for four San Antonio championships. He was a constant thorn in the Lakers’ side before retiring at the end of last season. Even though Ginobili came off the bench for much of his career, he’s expected to be a serious candidate for the Basketball Hall of Fame in a few years.Both Borrego and Parker missed the Hornets’ shootaround Friday morning, but they returned well in time for tip-off.last_img

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