Kyle Kuzma is an American professional basketball player who plays as power forward for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Playing college basketball for the Utah Utes as a junior while attending the University of Utah, he was named first-team all-conference in the Pac-12 in 2016–17. Soon after, he was selected by the Brooklyn Nets as the 27th overall pick and was traded to the Lakers on draft day. He achieved several milestones in his rookie season, including earning the 'Rookie of the Month' honor in first month, and was named to the 'NBA All-Rookie First Team'. He has played in NBA's the 'Rising Stars Challenge' twice in 2018 and 2019, and was named the MVP of the latter game for scoring a game-high 35 points. He is rumored to be dating model and reality television star Kendall Jenner.
Childhood & Early Life
Kyle Alexander Kuzma was born on July 24, 1995 in Flint, Michigan, United States, to Karri Kuzma, who has German, English and Ukrainian ancestry, and an African-American father. He grew up with his mother, a high school shot put champion, his step-father Larry Smith, and his step-siblings Andre and Briana.
He developed a passion for basketball after his parents installed a toy basketball rim for him when he was only two. He went to Swartz Creek Community School, but soon transferred to Bentley High School where he averaged 17.9 points, 14.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.4 blocks per game as a junior.
He drew the attention of Vin Sparacio, head coach at Rise Academy in Philadelphia, with tapes of his shooting, following which he was enrolled into the academy. In his senior year there, he averaged 22 points and seven rebounds per game.
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Kyle Kuzma joined the University of Utah in 2013, but redshirted his freshman year for signing late. In his sophomore year, he averaged 10.8 points per game as a starter.
In 2016-17, he earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors with 16.4 points average, 9.3 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game as a junior. When he decided to enter the 2017 NBA draft, he had graduated with a degree in sociology with one year of eligibility remaining to play in college.
Kyle Kuzma, who had been projected to go in the second round or even undrafted in the 2017 NBA draft, was selected as the 27th overall pick by the Brooklyn Nets. He was, however, traded away to the Los Angeles Lakers on draft day, and signed his rookie contract with the Lakers on July 3.
In the 2017 NBA Summer League, he played in eight games for the Lakers, starting in six, and was the lead point scorer in seven matches. After playing 20 games, he became the first ever NBA rookie to compile at least 330 points, 120 rebounds, and 30 made three-pointers.
In his first game as a starter on November 3, 2017, he got his first double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds, followed by another with 30 points and 10 rebounds two weeks later. The latter game earned him the 'Summer League Championship Game MVP' honor.
He was named the 'Western Conference Rookie of the Month' in October-November, and became the sixth non-lottery pick to earn the honor in the first month of his career. He ended the season with averages of 21.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.4 blocks, and 1.1 steals per game, and was named to the 'All-Summer League Second Team'.
Kuzma was selected to play in the Rising Stars Challenge for the second time in 2019, where he became the MVP. In the 2018-19 season, he achieved a season-high 37 points and a career-high 41 points.
Awards & Achievements
Kyle Kuzma was selected for the Rising Stars Challenge exhibition game twice in 2018 and 2019. He was named into the 'NBA All-Rookie First Team' in 2018 and was the 'NBA Rising Stars Challenge MVP' in 2019.
Family & Personal Life
It was rumored in early 2018 that Kyle Kuzma was dating Instagram model Sofia Jamora as she often attended his games and tagged him in her photos. In February 2019, fans found out via tattoo-matching that he was spending personal time with Instagram model Katya Elise Henry; however, according to her April tweet, they broke up because he could not handle her.
On the 4th of July 2019, he was spotted by the paparazzi taking "a romantic cruise" aboard a yacht with Kendall Jenner. This immediately created a media sensation, especially because Jenner recently broke up with her previous boyfriend, NBA player Ben Simmons.
Kyle Kuzma, who has described his native Flint as "a really violent place" where "there's a lot of temptation to get into the streets", also stated that basketball provided him a "safe haven".