How NBA Star Kyle Kuzma Is Making His Childhood Dreams Come True

Kyle Kuzma
Suit: Grayscale
Watch: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Double Flying Tourbillon

Photo Credit: Mark Squires

Photography: Mark Squires

Styling: Brandon Gray

Grooming: Dallin James

Shot on location at 277 St. Pierre Road, Los Angeles, CA 90077, listed by Haute Residence Agent Joyce Rey 

NBA star Kyle Kuzma is bringing his dreams to life both on the court and off. Under his belt this year, he’s come out of the 2019/2020 NBA Season with a championship win with the Los Angeles Lakers, and now he’s about to debut his first fashion line as Creative Director, aptly named Childhood Dreams.

Kuzma and the Lakers have come off a unique 2019/2020 NBA season — which included a three-month lockdown, followed by having to go into the “NBA Bubble” in Orlando where the players were secluded on the Disney property for the final eight games of the season. Every player, coach and staff member was required to pass a negative COVID test and quarantine prior to resuming the season, essentially isolating themselves so they could continue to finish out the games safely removed from the virus that has been spreading across our world and country since earlier this winter.

This new format certainly made for a unique season and one that was both mentally and physically trying on the players who were forced to remove themselves from family and friends while the season played out.

“The second half of the season was likely the most strange and different type of season that the history of the NBA has ever had,” Kuzma recalls. “Obviously the first half was regular, travel to games, road and home, go home and sleep in your bed and fly to the next city. The second half was far from that—it was really basketball summer camp-esque. You’re with your teammates, coaches and front office people every single day for three months—you’re practically living with each other, doing things with each other on and off the court. That was something that was unique in that you got to know each other on a different type of level. It was college a dorm-type setting with everyone staying in the same hall, everyone playing video games together and everyone clicking and gelling.”

Kyle Kuzma
SUIT & SHIRT: Grayscale
SHOES: Puma
WATCH: Roger Dubuis, Excalibur
Spider Huracán Performante

Photo Credit: Mark Squires

While it was certainly a different vibe than the athletes were used to, it clearly had some benefits for the winning team. “Ultimately, that’s how we won the championship—by everyone getting so close,” he notes.

Aside from the ongoing challenges of the sports industry with the virus, this season and champion win was especially poignant for the Lakers in the aftermath of the great Kobe Bryant’s death. In February, the legendary NBA star, businessman and father passed away in a tragic helicopter crash with his daughter, Gianna. Being that Bryant won an astounding five Championship titles for the Lakers during his professional basketball career, the death hit even closer to home. Thus, it was more important than ever to honor the great Mamba by bringing home the Win for the season to pay tribute to his legacy.

“It was a very hard time, obviously for the team organization but also individually, for me,” Kuzma shares. “He was a mentor to me and someone who was a very useful resource on life, basketball, business and everything else in between. To lose someone like that, not only for the organization and me, but also humans across the world who idolized and looked up to him as an inspiration—a North Star you could say—was very tough. For us, we wanted to win a championship not only for our hopes and dreams but also his memory and what he stood for. He stood for a lot of different things, but one thing that stands out for him was being a winner and we got that done.”

Indeed they did—after an adrenaline-pulsing six games of the NBA Finals, the Lakers were declared the winners with a 106-93 score against the Miami Heat. Life post-bubble was short but sweet for Kuzma, as they’re heading back into the season after just a few short weeks between the Finals and Training Camp.

Kyle Kuzma
RT & SWEATS: Childhood Dreams
SHOES: Puma X Rhude

Photo Credit: Mark Squires

“The first thing I did when I got out of the bubble was I got some fried chicken and waffles, then I got a nice steak, I ate some really good doughnuts and I played with my dog all day. It was like getting out of the pen,” he notes. “It felt like a different world. It was weird because we were around each other, the team, and COVID-safe people. Getting out and being around other people, even people that you’ve known for years—it was a weird type of ordeal.”

As Kuzma and the rest of the NBA players are adjusting to life in our ‘new normal,’ they’re focusing on getting mentally and physically ready for the upcoming season.

“This year, winning the championship in the “NBA Bubble” was probably the toughest ever. But the opportunity for us to repeat and win another championship with only 71 days of rest and not enough time to get the body back moving after a certain rest period of playing will be even more of a challenge. But I’m excited to play basketball as much as I always am because it’s for the love of the game and nothing makes me happier than playing,” he says.

Aside from the upcoming season to look forward to, Kuzma is manifesting his dreams off the court as well. He’s bringing his love and passion for fashion to life by debuting the clothing line, Childhood Dreams, where he serves as the Creative Director of the brand. Created with an emphasis on comfort, functionality and style through simple silhouettes that can be worn every day, dressed up or down, Kuzma is excited to share Childhood Dreams with the world. With a nostalgic nod to his ‘Childhood Dreams,’ the brand encourages its customers to always remember their past while moving forward—an ethos Kuzma has maintained for himself and his career.

Kyle Kuzma
HOODIE & HAT: Childhood Dreams

Photo Credit: Mark Squires

“I always think a first impression is your best impression and what people usually notice first is what you’re wearing. For me, fashion is an expression, and from a young age, I’ve always tried to dress as nice as I could and as much as my mom could financially support it. Getting into the NBA and being around more fashion-focused people allowed me to really explore how I thought about dressing myself,” he notes.

“Another big aspect of the inspiration of my line is when you’re wearing something—especially as an athlete that you’re photographed in. A lot of times you only wear something once or twice and then you give it away, or you just never wear it again. I wanted to create timeless pieces that can be worn many times. Obviously, fashion is not just clothes—it’s art—the way something fits and looks and is trimmed, or may be screen-printed or tailored is all a form of art and that’s something that has drawn me to fashion.”

And while Childhood Dreams takes on more of a menswear theme, Kuzma notes that the Childhood Dreams customer is everyone—men or women, young or old, he wants his clothes to be worn by all.

Kyle Kuzma
JACKET: John Varvatos
SHIRT: Childhood Dreams
WATCH: Roger Dubuis
Excalibur Spider Sottozero

Photo Credit: Mark Squires

“It’s not just a guy thing,” he explains. “We have a lot of different items that are very unisex-oriented. I think especially with lockdowns and the ongoing pandemic, this time and space has taught us that being comfortable is a premium and putting on anything is a premium. There have been a lot of times throughout this pandemic that my girlfriend [Winnie Harlow] and I have been laying in the house and we leave to go somewhere and she just puts on my clothes. Obviously, that’s a very girlfriend-thing to do. But from an artistic type of mindset, I’m thinking that’s the new style as a whole. You’re not going to too many places right now, but you still want to be cozy and warm and feel like yourself. You don’t need to take two hours to get ready, but instead, throw something on that’s a minimalistic silhouette that speaks to your style.”

Aside from fashion, art and expression are two important themes for Kuzma, and two of his other passions that reflect his appreciation for this are the art of winemaking and watchmaking.

“I think everything has really aligned for me ever since growing up and becoming a young adult and really realizing what things I like in life and what brings me joy,” he says. “For me, a lot of times, it’s about investments and trying to make money. If you think about that, you think about art, which is expression. Watches are expression and wine is expression—tie them together and you take a liking into the nuances and the craftsmanship of these finer luxuries in life.

Kyle Kuzma
Suit: Grayscale

Photo Credit: Mark Squires

“Starting with wine, I’ve learned to appreciate how grapes are made, the art behind it, the different tastes, colors, fruits or how certain oaks/barrels will make a wine taste different and age different. With watches, it’s the same thing. The developer of the watch creates its movement, how it turns, and certain watches are even aligned with the moon. There are so much intricacy and details that go into both processes that I’ve come to appreciate, and that I want to learn more about.”

While Kuzma has certainly developed a love and appreciation for the finer things in life—and certainly a winner’s mentality as evident from the past NBA season—he’s also taken the time over the past year to reflect within himself, find ways to relax (meditation is one of his favorite tactics) and appreciate what he has. It has certainly been an exciting year for both Kuzma and the entire Lakers ortqanization, and it is only just getting started for the 25-year-old. Reflecting on the past year, he proves he is wise beyond his years.

“The biggest thing I’ve learned in this time is that less is more,” he muses. “A lot of times, we get caught up in this world that puts materialistic items and things that don’t last above things that matter. Having a pandemic and being inside and forcing yourself to try to figure out who you are and what you like has really stumped some people and elevated others at the same time. You realize in your life what’s important—family, friends, communication and the things that make you happy are what truly matters.” And it seems, Kuzma has found just that.

Kyle Kuzma
SUIT & SHIRT: Grayscale
SHOES: Puma
WATCH: Roger Dubuis, Excalibur
Spider Huracán Performante

Photo Credit: Mark Squires

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