Kyle Kuzma on warm reception from Lakers fans: “Being a Laker is forever in my heart”

(Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

Kyle Kuzma was one of the most maligned players to ever wear a Los Angeles Lakers jersey. He was one of the guys that the team’s scouts found as a diamond in the rough. He joined the likes of Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, and Brandon Ingram to form the beloved “Baby Lakers”. When the Lakers acquired LeBron James and eventually Anthony Davis, he was the last man standing from the group. Transitioning from a rebuilding team to a contender really sent his role on the franchise in flux. However, he found ways to succeed in the diminished role, lending a hand in the team winning the 2020 championship.

Kuzma will always go down as an unforgettable part of the team for a few reasons. All fans will remember the outrageous outfits and fashion. There’s also the blonde hair he’d randomly sport on a nightly basis. Beyond the off the court things, Kuzma went from a high volume tweener to a versatile tool between stars. He worked hard to stick in a league where many players of the same ilk have failed to transition. It was not surprising that teams valued what he brought to the table. It’s a big reason he was almost moved in a deal for Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield. Instead, the Lakers pivoted from the move and he was included in a trade package for Russell Westbrook.

No hard feelings came from Kuzma being traded. He’s thriving as a starter with the Washington Wizards, which is something he’s always wanted. Kuzma spoke to the media after his first return to Los Angeles since the summer trade (h/t The Athletic’s Joshua Robbins):

Kuzma is missed on and off the floor for the team. As most players deserve, he’s having his time as the guy in the absence of Bradley Beal. He’s also flanked by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, another important former Lakers piece. Both guys got to enjoy a 50-piece courtesy of LeBron James, making the return bittersweet.

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