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The Giveback: Glendale Goes Christmas Shopping with Kyle Kuzma

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Glendale — A group of 25 kids from the Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA and their families were told to gather at the JCPenney at the Glendale Galleria for a Giving Spree and a surprise visit from a special guest. That’s all they were told.

Little did they know that they would be doing their shopping with none other than Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Before hopping on a plane to Houston for a four-game road trip, Kuzma spent some time with a select group of kids from the Los Angeles area and helped them shop for the holidays. Each child was given a $100 gift card from JCPenney plus 20 percent off of their entire purchase.

While Kuzma wasn’t directly involved with organizing the event, he said that he wanted to be part of the experience and add whatever he could to make it a special holiday memory for the kids involved.

“It’s super cool,” Kuzma said. “A lot of these kids have never seen an NBA player up close so to see the smiles on their face — a lot of them looked shocked — it was awesome to see. I always like that. I get joy from seeing that.

“I just like to help people. I already do a lot in Flint but I want to do more in place I’ve always been in. Utah and here as well. It’s super important for me to give back to the community.”

Kuzma, who makes roughly $1.7 million annually, didn’t get a $100 gift card, but he said he would have bought some Levis and Vans if he did: “You can’t get that much from $100, but I would have left with a lot.”

Kuzma was a part of the YMCA of Greater Flint growing up and this time last year, he threw a party for the kids that are part of the ”Safe Places Program,” where he gave away gifts and made a donation to the facility.

This year, he helped a community equally in need of a holiday pick-me-up, according to Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA Director of Community Development Omar Torres.

“They’re incredibly excited to make their holidays a little merrier and we’re just incredibly grateful for the opportunity,” Torres said. “A lot of the community that we serve is under-resourced so any opportunities like this definitely ensure that we’re able to feel the general warmth of the holidays, which doesn’t always come to us.”

Torres said that community leaders like Kuzma and LeBron James are the reason he’s getting back into basketball.

“It’s hard to not to be a fan of the Lakers with LeBron James and folks like Kyle Kuzma on the team,” Torres said. “Just real champions of the community that really focus on making sure that they’re not only good on the court, but outside of the court as well, which is one of the things I appreciate. Them being here, present and out, showing their support. That’s something that we definitely need more of in our athletes.”

Kuzma also made a lasting impression on the kids involved. David Ruiz, one of the kids selected for the event, said seeing Kuzma give back to the community made him want to do the same when he’s able to.

“He definitely inspires me,” Ruiz said. “When I get older, I hope to be just like him and go around helping kids ... to see him walking around and offering to buy stuff as well, it honestly motivates me.”

Ruiz said he’s a big Lakers fans, but admitted his dad is a Clippers fan: “It causes conflict in the house,” he said.





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  • Abdulaziz Butera: January 27, 2019

    Am your best fan ever.
    God bless all your project and keep win and I now u will get more good

  • Abdulaziz Butera: January 27, 2019

    You are my role model for what u do in playing and help people for me you are legend I want be like you 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏insha Allah

  • HEEN: January 21, 2019

    support u kuzma

  • Cristopher: January 21, 2019

    I want to hang out with kyle kumza and the lakers whole team

  • kim: January 19, 2019


  • 叶孤城: January 18, 2019

    加油(ง •̀_•́)ง,你是最棒的

  • Greg Montg: January 18, 2019

    Loook……I don’t know a lot about the kid, aight??
    But Ummah keep it REAL:
    This young dude is out there doin Kobe stuff!
    He’s out there doin M.J. kinda stuff!
    He’s out there doin Scottie Pippen kinda stuff!
    And the Lakers are paying this kid less than 2 million a year?!!
    O.k.!, I understand they needed time to see wutz up with the dude, aight!!
    Well now ya KNOW!!!
    Give the kid $15 mill a year and stop playin!!!

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  • 刘翔: January 18, 2019

    Kyle ,I love you.You are my idol.

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    You are the most attractive boy I have ever met, warriors vs. lakers. I watched not Curry, not James, not Durant, is you Kuzma. I will always love you.

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  • wangjianying: January 17, 2019

    ye s

  • Greg Mont: January 17, 2019

    The Lakers should re-sign Kuzma for at least $15 million a year.
    He’s PROVED he deserves a huge raise.

  • lovinggggg: January 17, 2019

    Love U

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    I am ur fans

  • lovingkuz: January 03, 2019

    kuz!love u!you r the best!

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