On Wednesday it was reported that the Kyle Kuzma-Puma partnership that had been rumored was official, with Kyle Kuzma reportedly becoming the “face” of the brand to the tune of a five-year deal for around $3 million each year.
Kuzma joins other young NBA stars including Marvin Bagley and DeAndre Ayton, but also stars outside of the NBA including the head of their creative department, rapper Jay-Z.
Jay-Z isn’t the only rapper with ties to Puma however, as late rapper Nipsey Hussle continues to posthumously be tied to the brand. He signed on to be a brand ambassador in January 2018, with Puma agreeing after his death to sell a collection of products that Nipsey worked on before he passed, with all proceeds going to his charity organization, the Neighborhood “Nip” Foundation.
Kyle Kuzma had Nipsey in mind when agreeing to terms with Puma, pointing out potential community work in L.A. with Puma as one of his motivations to sign with them. He had this to say to Nick DePaula/ESPN:
One thing, people know that I had a relationship with Nipsey (Hussle). Him being from L.A., being there and being a fan (of his) for years prior to all of this L.A. stuff. You know, when I had an opportunity that Puma wanted me, from the jump I was like “Oh, that’s exciting” because I like Nip. It’s sad that he passed, but, kinda ever since that moment…really trying to carry on that “marathon”…that type of symbolism. It kinda meant a lot to me. For me I wanted to go to Puma not only for what I got going on, but to do some things in this community like Nip did, to kinda just do the whole nine.
“I wanted to go to Puma, not only for everything that I've got going on, but to do some things within this community like Nip did." — Kuz pic.twitter.com/p20g0Qma6U
— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) October 3, 2019
It’s absolutely nice to see Kuzma wanting to do community work through Puma in honor of Nipsey Hussle’s name and slogan, “The Marathon Continues”. Obviously Kuzma had a good relationship with Nip, and was personally impacted by seeing the great work that Nipsey did, as were many others in the NBA world including teammate LeBron James and Russell Westbrook.
He will try and honor Nipsey Hussle’s name through his partnership with Puma, and the community work he will do for L.A. in the process.