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.”