He grew up a lot in the last three and a half years and I think that (Utah) played a great role in him maturing as an adult. —Karri Kuzma
GRAND BLANC, Mich. — A 55-inch television is mounted in the living room of a luxurious, three-bedroom apartment in this suburb of Flint, Michigan.
The spacious 2,100-square-foot area is occupied by the Kuzma family: Karri, Andre and Briana.
“It’s totally different,” Karri said, glancing around the room. “This is probably the nicest place I’ve ever lived in.”
More than 1,600 miles will separate them from NBA rookie Kyle Kuzma this Saturday, but the gang will certainly be tuned in when the Los Angeles Lakers roll into town to face the Utah Jazz at Vivint Arena.
For Kuzma, returning to Salt Lake City is a homecoming.
The Flint, Michigan, native spent three seasons at the University of Utah, where he earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors after averaging a team-high 16.4 points and 9.3 boards per game for the Utes.
“We just want to wish him good luck on Saturday and we want to give a shout-out to the University of Utah and all of his fans there,” said Karri, Kyle’s mother.
Kuzma is considered by many to be the steal of this year’s draft class. He was originally selected by the Brooklyn Nets with the 27th pick, but had his rights traded to the Lakers on draft night.
After strong summer league and preseason performances, he is averaging 14.5 points and four rebounds on 53.5 percent shooting through the first four games of his pro career.
His younger siblings, Andre and Briana, aren’t surprised by his solid output on the court, but are still adjusting to life in the spotlight.
“All my co-workers keep asking me, ‘Am I going to quit?’” said Briana, a baggage handler at Bishop International Airport.
“Kyle does the most for me, and my public status is a little different,” said Andre, a junior at Grand Blanc High School. “A lot of people know me at school.”
One of Kuzma’s first purchases after signing his rookie deal was moving his family into the lavish, Flint-area home — in addition to his brand new 2018 Porsche Panamera.
He’s hardly home, but still the man of the house.
On Saturday, he’ll look to shine in his old stomping grounds with his family cheering from afar.
“He grew up a lot in the last three and a half years and I think that (Utah) played a great role in him maturing as an adult,” Karri said.