Kyle Kuzma is an American basketball player who went pro after the Brooklyn Nets selected him in the 2017 NBA draft with the 27th overall pick. However, the team traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers on the same day. In 2018, the power forward was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. He showed good progress as he went on to help his team win an NBA championship in 2020. Over a year later, the Lakers traded Kuzma to the Washington Wizards, where he hopes to reignite his career.
Being that Kyle’s basketball career brought him to the limelight, a lot of people may know many things about that aspect of his life and very little about other areas of his life. But just as he has an exciting career, there are also very interesting details about him that are worth knowing.
1. Varying Figures Have Been Reported As Kyle Kuzma’s Height
When the power forward was drafted into the NBA, his height was listed as 6 feet 9 inches. This made him perfect for the position as reports have revealed that the average height of power forwards since 1987 has been 6’9″ (with very few fluctuations each year). Kyle reportedly grew to this height while he was still in high school and it made playing the game a bit easier for him. Thanks to his height and skills, he played so well as a high school student that his name was among ESPN’s list of 25 best power forwards in America.
In 2019, Kyle Kuzma’s height went down to 6 feet 8 inches after all players were re-measured in line with the NBA’s new rule which required that teams should provide the precise height of their players, without shoes, measured by their team doctors. Prior to this, numbers were usually, allegedly distorted by “politics”. While everyone had accepted the most recent measurement to be Kyle’s actual height, it came as a surprise that the measurement had recently changed again to 6 feet 10 inches as listed on several authoritative sites such as Basketball-Reference, NBA.com, and ESPN. However, his weight remains 221 lbs (100kg).
Although we are no longer sure about the right measurement for the basketballer’s height, the fact remains that he is almost seven feet tall. This means that Kyle is taller than an average American man, as a 2018 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that the average height for American men 20 years old and up is 5 feet 9 inches.
2. Kyle Is 26 Years Old
Kyle Kuzma was born in Flint, Michigan, on July 24, 1995. Although he is the only child of his parents, he has two half-siblings, Andre and Briana, who are products of his mother’s marriage to a man named Larry Smith. Kyle is older than his half-brother and half-sister but because their dates of birth are not known, we cannot tell how many years apart they were born. The 26 years old professional basketball star enrolled at the University of Utah at the age of 18 and graduated in 2017 with a degree in sociology at the age of 22. He earned his first and only college honor – First-team All-Pac-12- in 2017 and also got drafted into the National Basketball Association in the same year.
3. The Basketball Power Forward Is Multi-Racial
The athlete’s full name is Kyle Alexander Kuzma and as you might have noticed, his last name is not exactly a traditional Caucasian name. He has been in the news for a number of reasons since he became an NBA player, especially for his performance in games. But that aside, he has also been dragged into various online conversations as people have raised questions about his name and ethnicity.
Looking at Kyle, it is obvious that he is a product of a biracial relationship. While his biological father is of African-American ethnicity, his mother is Caucasian with her ancestry traceable to England, Ukraine, and Germany. His surname “Kuzma” is of Russian origin and common among people in Slavic countries. According to SurnameDB, the name “is a metronymic of the given name “Kuzma”, itself coming from the Greek “Kosmas”, from “kosmos”‘.
4. Kyle’s Basketball Journey Began With A Toy Basketball Rim
Kuzma picked interest in basketball as a child as his love for the sport was kindled by his mom and step-father, who bought him a toy basketball rim when he was a toddler. This simple show of love ignited a permanent interest in the brown ball game for young Kyle. As a result, even though he faced a lot of family challenges growing up and also grew up in an environment which he has described as a” really violent place [where] there’s a lot of temptation to get into the streets,” he was able to get his mind off his family struggles and stay away from crime as basketball served as his escape.
While basketball was a major part of his early years, Kyle never abandoned his education. He attended Swartz Creek Community School for a while before transferring to Bentley High School, Michigan. At Bentley, he was part of the school’s basketball team and as a junior, he recorded an average of 17.9 points, 14.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 3.4 blocks each game. While still a student of the school, Kyle began to make arrangements for his future in basketball. He did this by sending out tapes of his shooting at the YMCA to various preparatory schools.
On seeing the video, the head coach at Rise Academy, Philadelphia, Vin Sparacio, was impressed and as a result, he brought Kyle into the academy without wasting time. As a high school senior at the basketball academy, Kyle’s average scores per game improved. Subsequently, many Division I schools offered him an opportunity to play for them. Some of the schools were Missouri, Connecticut, Tennessee, and Iowa State, however, he made up his mind to take on the offer by the University of Utah to play for the Utah Utes men’s basketball team. After the 2016–17 season, he decided to forego his final year of college basketball eligibility in order to enter the 2017 NBA draft.
5. He Began His Professional Basketball Career With The Lakers
Kyle Kuzma was selected by the Brooklyn Nets with the 27th overall pick at the draft that took place on June 22, 2017. However, he never got to play for the team as he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in a draft-day trade. In his first season with the Lakers, Kyle was named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month for his amazing performance in October/November. He also became the first rookie in the NBA to ever record not less than 330 points, 120 rebounds, and 30 three-pointers in his first 20 games. Additionally, winning the award made him the sixth non-lottery pick to earn it in his first month of playing in the NBA.
His scores in the game following December 20, 2017, made him the first Lakers rookie to score 25 points and above in three consecutive games since Jerry West in 1961. Kyle was selected for the Rising Stars Challenge during the NBA All-Star Weekend in 2018 and by the end of the season, he was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. In the 2018–19 season, Kyle was again among the players that played in the Rising Stars Challenge and he scored a game-high 35 points to earn MVP honors.
In 2020, Kyle won his first NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers. In December of the same year, he signed a three-year contract extension deal with the Lakers. But in a turn of events, the Lakers decided to trade him to the Washington Wizards on the 6th of August 2021.
6. Kyle Kuzma’s Mother Quit Her Athletic Career To Raise Him As A Single Mom
Kyle’s mother, Karri Kuzma, may be known for nothing else today except for being the mother of an NBA star, but before then, she herself was a promising athlete. During her time as a student at Otisville Lakeville high school, she played different sports, including varsity basketball and volleyball. She was also a star in track and field, a two-time Class B state shot put champion, and she also took the second position in the discus event. As a result of her spectacular performance in high school, Karri was given a track scholarship at Hillsdale College.
Unfortunately, her very bright athletic career was brought to an abrupt end after she got pregnant with Kyle. This resulted in her leaving school and moving to Flint, Michigan, to raise her son singlehandedly. Life was far from rosy for Karri and her child as it was difficult for her to get a permanent job. Being a college dropout, it was also hard for her to land jobs that paid well. In a bid to provide for herself and her son, she worked two different jobs.
For some good reasons, the mother and son moved around a lot (they moved 9 times within 16 years during Kyle’s childhood/teen years). Among these reasons was the fact that Karri needed to get away from an obsessed former boyfriend who was stalking her. They were once forced to relocate following an eviction, and they also moved once as a result of a water leakage that resulted in a mold infestation that made them fall sick.
Many years later, Kyle’s mom told the Detroit Free Press that she eventually realized that she could have found a way to stay in college and graduate as she was already close to finishing her degree when she conceived her first child. However, she said she had no regrets because raising Kyle was the best decision she has ever made. As a way of appreciating his mother’s sacrifices for him, the NBA star bought Karri a house after he got into the league.
7. The Father of The NBA Player is Absent From His Life
Kyle Kuzma did not have what many people would call an “ideal start to family life”. His mother never got married to the man with whom she conceived him and to date, she remains the only biological parent of the player. According to Kyle, he has only seen his biological father once and that was when he was still an infant and as such, he has no memory of him. Nevertheless, he had a father figure while growing up. Kyle’s mother met Larry Smith a few years after he had her son and just like her, he was also a parent.
Larry had two children from his previous relationship and coming into Karri’s life, he became Kyle’s father figure. Together, the couple raised Kyle. Being the only grown man in his life, Kyle shared a lot of “first times” with Larry, including playing basketball for the first time with him after he and Karri fixed a Little Tykes hoop for him in their living room. Having played his role as a father to Kyle well, the power forward told the Detroit Free Press that not knowing his actual father means nothing to him because he got used to it growing up and Larry has been a very good father to him.
Thanks to Karri’s relationship with a man who loved her son as a real father would, Kyle gained two half-siblings. While his half-brother, Andre, is said to be studying at Grand Blanc High School in Michigan, nothing is known about his half-sister Briana, including her education. It has, however, been reported that she works as a baggage handler at Bishop International Airport. Like every normal family, Kyle shares a close bond with his mother, step-dad, and siblings, and they are all part of his strong support system.
8. Kyle Has An Estimated Net Worth Of $3 Million
The former Los Angeles Lakers power forward signed a 4-year rookie scale contract with the team worth $8,650,178 on the 3rd of July 2017 after his draft team traded him. Based on the contract, he was paid an average annual salary of $2,162,545 from 2017 to 2020. On the 21st of December 2020, he signed a 3-year contract extension with the Lakers worth $39,000,000. The $39,000,000 figure was guaranteed and translated to an average yearly salary of $13,000,000. This means that in the 2021/2022 season, he will be paid a base salary of $13,000,000. Even though he was traded to the Washington Wizards in August 2021, his pay remains the same for the next three years.
Thanks to his basketball career, the 26-year-old is well off financially. He has a net worth of $3 million.