Basketball & Race

What is Kyle Kuzma’s race and background — is he multiracial?

Most basketball fans outside of  PAC 12 fanatics and University of Utah fans weren’t familiar with Kyle Kuzma until it came time to get serious about the 2017 NBA Draft. Since he was picked with the 27th pick of the draft by the Brooklyn Nets and subsequently traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, fans have been all a buzz about who the athletic forward is?

Particularly, what race is Kyle Kuzma?  Is he multiracial or is he Latino?  Seeing him ball it up over the summer with Lonzo Ball, everyone is interested in just about every little fact there is to know about Kuzma. How old is he? Who is his girlfriend?

Kyle Kuzma’s Basketball Career

Kyle Kuzma was born on July 24th, 1995 and grew up in Flint, Michigan. The former-automotive city has produced several NBA players in Glen Rice, JaVale McGee, Morris Peterson, Charlie Bell, Trent Tucker and Mateen Cleaves.

After starring at High School, Kuzma enrolled in the University of Utah and red-shirted his freshman year based on signing with the college late.

During his sophomore and junior years in college, he had double-digit scoring averages and notched 16.4 points per game, 9.3 rebounds per game, and 2.4 apg and was selected to the 2017 All-Pac-12 First Team. The 6’9” stretch power forward decided to enter the NBA draft. Despite his all-around game, he slipped in the draft to end of the first round.

Kyle Kuzma


No sports betting site on the Internet could have predicted Kuzma’s spectacular performances following the draft. K2 did it all and was all over the court during the NBA Summer League; he dunked, hit threes at a consistent clip, floated up runners, rebounded, attacked the basket, and ran the break. By the end of the Las Vegas Summer League he averaged 21.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.4 blocks, and 1.1 steals and scored 30 points and 10 rebounds against the Portland Blazers in the championship game. To follow up on that, in the shortened NBA preseason Kuzma performed similarly-well; averaging 19.5 points per game.

Since then, NBA General Managers have named Kuzma the second biggest steal of the draft (after Dennis Smith Jr.). We know he’s just a rookie, but based on his summer league performance, Summer League Championship Game MVP, preseason confidence, we think he’s the real deal. Together with fellow 2017 draftee Lonzo Ball, the two rookies are  expected to be a regular contributor in the upcoming season.


“Light-Skinned Brothers”

After one of their preseason games, Lonzo and Kuzma playfully attributed their on-court chemistry to their “light skin connection“. Though we’re certain that their light skin wasn’t the reason they played so well with one another, there are some common experiences that “light skinned brothers” do share.

Though it’s odd to many people to talk about someone’s race or just discussing it full stop, it doesn’t mean that we it’s not worth discussing. At Interbasket, we have found that by fostering a positive dialogue about all players we see from around the world and all different races and background that it helps foster a better understanding among everyone.

The NBA is a great example of players from just about any background that you can think of being brought together to put on one of the greatest shows on Earth. Similar to other stars and upcoming stars in the NBA, we believe that it’s only a good thing to talk about and discuss a player’s background to help make everyone aware.


What We Know about Kyle Kuzma’s Mom and Dad?

Kyle Kuzma’s mom is Karri Kuzma. She is Caucasian and has been raising him since first getting pregnant with him in college. Prior to the pregnancy, she was attending Hillsdale College on a track scholarship being a two-time Class B shot put champion at Otisville Lakeville High School. During Kyle’s childhood, she would work two jobs most of the time, and the family moved a total of nine times in 16 years. To this day, the pair remain extremely close.

As far as Kuzma’s father is concerned, the family has not discussed the topic very much publicly. What we’ve been able to gather is that he’s of African American heritage. What little else can be gleaned about Kuzma’s dad is that’s he’s not nearly as present in Kyle’s life as his mom is.

What is Kyle Kuzma’s Racial Background?

As many of the commentators on this post have pointed out, the Kuzma last name is a popular surname of the Slavic people, wiih origins in Russia. The name is particularly more common in Eastern European countries like Hungary, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Slovakia, so there’s likely some lineage originating from that region of Europe. How’s that for some insight and detail on his blood lines? Take that 23 and Me!

With Kyle Kuzma’s Caucasian mother and his father assumed to be African-American, that would make Kyle mixed race, bi-racial or multiracial – depending on your description of choice. Similar to many of the other NBA stars and up-and-coming players that we’ve profiled on Interbasket, Kuzma is yet another player that just doesn’t fit under a single label.

In fact, this year’s Lakers roster, there’s a strong possibility that five multi-racial players will be on the court at the same time: Ball and Jordan Clarkson in the backcourt, Brook Lopez in the middle with Kuzma and Larry Nance Jr. at the forward spots.

How’s that for a “light skinned connection”?


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