Selected as the 27th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft to the Brooklyn Nets and then sent to the Los Angeles Lakers in a draft-night trade, Kyle Kuzma is a leader in the crop of rising NBA stars. Born and raised in Flint, Michigan, Kuzma played sports his entire life. His mother Karri Kuzma was an athlete as well, being highschool shot put champion and former college track runner. Kuzma played college ball at the University of Utah under coach Larry Krystkowiak where he redshirted his freshman year, became a starter his sophomore year where he averaged just over 10 points per game, and jumped to averaging 16 points his junior year, earning him All-Pac-12 honors. Following that season, Kuzma decided to enter the draft.
After an impressive showing during the NBA Summer League, Kuzma’s rookie year on the Lakers was marked by studying under the tutelage of veteran players like Kobe Bryant who was still playing at the time. He was selected to the NBA All-Rookie First Team and carried that momentum into his sophomore season. Kuzma’s growth and exceptional game would also help him secure his spot on the Lakers as the team began moving players to acquire superstars like LeBron James and, later, Anthony Davis. Kuzma is now a core player in the Lakers rotation, starting in most games going into his fourth year in the league.
Kuzma earned his first NBA championship after Los Angeles bested the Miami Heat in the tumultuous 2019-2020 NBA Finals. After scoring a career-high 19 points during Game 3, Kuzma signed a three year, $40 million contract extension with Los Angeles. Despite the ups and downs, Kuzma continues to prove his value in the league.