News & Politics

Kyle Kuzma: Five Things to Know About the Wizards’ New Forward

The 6-foot-10 former first-round draft pick is also an artist and something of a wine connoisseur.

Back in late July, when the Washington Wizards traded away former NBA MVP Russell Westbrook, they received in return a selection of three lesser-known players that team executives hope to build around. Among the new faces is Kyle Kuzma, a 6-foot-10 forward who won an NBA championship as a member of the 2019-2020 Los Angeles Lakers. Here are five things to know about Kuzma:

1. Athletic roots: Kuzma grew up near Flint, Michigan, where his mother, Karri Kuzma, had been a star athlete herself. After winning two state shot-put titles in high school, she earned a track scholarship to Hillsdale College in Michigan, according to the Detroit Free Press.

2. First-round pick: After earning First Team All-Pac-12 honors at the University of Utah, Kuzma entered the NBA draft in 2017. He was a first-round pick, spending his first four seasons with the Lakers. In the 2018-2019 season, he averaged nearly 19 points a game.

3. Recently single: Though Kuzma had been dating model Winnie Harlow since March of 2020, the couple, according to TMZ, broke up in the wake of the trade to Washington. 

4. Wine connoisseur: In a recent interview with New York Magazine’s the Strategist, Kuzma described himself as something of an oenophile. “I drink wine maybe every two days off-season,” he said. “A little less when I’m in season. Decanting is important. I like to drink wines that are 20 or 30 years old, and they need to breathe after being in the bottle for that long. Maybe decanting doesn’t make a difference for younger bottles, but for older ones, it really helps develop the flavor before you drink a wine.”

5. Shy painter: Kuzma is also, according to the New York Magazine interview, a bit of an artist. “I collect art,” he said, “but a lot of the art in my home is painted by me. I’ve always been someone that draws and does creative things on paper. I got into painting about a year and a half ago. It became an outlet. I’m pretty private about my paintings and don’t show them to a lot of people. But it’s something I’m passionate about.”

Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.