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Former Utah Star Kyle Kuzma is an NBA Champion With the LA Lakers

The tumultuous NBA season came to an end on Sunday night with the Los Angeles Lakers lifting the Larry O'Brien trophy — and that means that former Utah star Kyle Kuzma is now an NBA champion

When the final buzzer sounded and confetti poured from the rafters, the Los Angeles Lakers celebrated their NBA championship. In a season filled with obstacles, as well as devastating loss, it was fitting that LeBron James and co. honored their former teammate and Laker legend Kobe Bryant with a title just over nine months after he tragically passed away.

But once the memories and the tears stopped, the celebration began. And right in the middle of that celebration was former Utah star Kyle Kuzma, an integral part of LA's deep bench that helped earn the team so many victories.

"Man. …just a kid from Flint, Mich. It's crazy. Crazy, crazy you know," Kuzma said postgame. "I almost didn't go to college. I wasn't supposed to get drafted, you know. NBA Championship. … It's unbelievable."

In the NBA Finals, Kuzma averaged just 8.5 points and 2.8 rebounds per game, but he did so by playing in 21.7 points per game. He had a series-high of 19 points in LA's game three loss, going 4-of-8 from beyond the arc — he also had a dagger three-pointer in game four that helped propel the Lakers to the win and a 3-1 series lead.

In the regular season and after dealing with injuries beginning and throughout, he averaged 12.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in 25 minutes per game.


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The Lakers defeated the Miami Heat 4-2 on Sunday night following their 106-93 victory. James was named as Finals MVP, his fourth time receiving the award.


The championship finally brought an end to a season that saw many highs and lows, from the massive injuries sustained to perennial favorites the Golden State Warriors, to the rise of Luka Doncic, Damian Lillard and Jimmy Butler — and there was that whole COVID-19 pandemic thing that shut the season down past the midway point and forced teams into an NBA bubble to close out the regular season and playoffs.

But arguably the best part of the celebration came at the very end when players met with media in their final pressers of the season. Typically known for his stoic nature and easiness speaking publicly, Kuzma was finally caught off guard and didn't know what to say at the end. He did however have a reason for his inability to properly comprehend his thoughts — and it's all thanks to the postgame champagne.

Kuzma is the fourth former Utah basketball player to win an NBA title, joining Arnie Ferrin, Michael Doleac and Andrew Bogut.

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Twitter — @UtahUtes_SI and Ryan Kostecka at @Ryan_Kostecka