Kuzma took the Lakers’ day off to do the color swap, dropping the blonde hair he had rocked since just before the New Year.
The look had become a topic of conversation for both his teammates and fans, the most notable moment coming at Staples Center when a member of the Lakers faithful yelled at Kuzma on the free-throw line, “Will the Real Slim Shady please stand up.” Kuzma heard the comment and grinned before shooting.
The post quickly went viral, with fellow NBAers responding to Kuzma’s new look, including former Lakers DeMarcus Cousins and Troy Daniels.
“Power of prayer,” Cousins wrote.
“I’m drawing the line right now .. no no no..!!!” Daniels added.
Lakers center Dwight Howard was one of the biggest supporters in the comment thread, responding with straight fire emojis.
Kyle Kuzma Channels Inner Larry Bird Against Zion Williamson
Kyle Kuzma picked up his seventh start of the season against the Pelicans on Sunday night, netting 20 points on a 8-of-18 shooting night in the Lakers 122-114 win. Kuzma got the starting nod in place of Anthony Davis, who sat out with a sore knee.
Part of Kuzma’s duties was playing defense on this year’s No. 1 overall pick and physical specimen Zion Williamson, who showed off his hefty size advantage on a third quarter dunk.
While Kuzma couldn’t match the defensive presence of Davis — a DPOY favorite — he played admirable defense at times. However, Williamson still put away a season-high 35 points, including the monster jam.
When asked about his strategy against Zion on defense, Kuzma pointed to the other side of the floor.
“Larry Bird once said, ‘My best defense is my offense,’” Kuzma told Spectrum SportsNet when it came to guarding Zion. “He had to guard me, too. That was kind of my mentality. Going out there and really attack. Make him try to move his feet. Obviously, he’s a tough challenge. He’s a big boy, but had to do the same thing on the other end, too.”
Jared Dudley Defends Kyle Kuzma
Kuzma spent much of the season dealing with trade rumors. But as the deadline passed, he remained in the purple and gold.
The 24-year-old Kuzma has come under fire at times this season for his inability to consistently fill the third-option role that many expected for him before the season. However, while on Inside the Green Room with teammate Danny Green and co-host Harrison D. Sanford, veteran Jared Dudley defended Kuzma.
“If you look at all teams LeBron has been on when he’s teamed up with another superstar — D-Wade, Kyrie — the third person, it takes a while,” Dudley said. “The difference with those other two people — Bosh and Kevin Love — is that they’re starting. When Kyle Kuzma starts, he’s averaging like 23 points. His field goal percentage is up and his 3-point percentage is up. … He’s playing behind Anthony Davis. It’s never a consistent flow.”