Growing up as a biracial kid in a blue-collar neighborhood, Kyle Kuzma had a tough childhood. However, his mom raised him to love and preach unity.

Kyle was raised by his mother in Flint, Michigan, and they lived right across the street from a vehicle manufacturing plant of General Motors. His mother is white, and his father is Black, but he had a rough time being accepted by other Black kids.

Things changed drastically when he went to Bentley High as he suddenly became the only Black kid at an all-white school. As expected, he faced intense criticism from other kids, who made racist jokes at his expense. 

'Her Sacrifice Made Me the Athlete I Am Today'

Taking to his Twitter account in December 2015, the basketball player shared a brief clip of him talking about how his mother’s sacrifices helped him become the athlete he is today.

In the 5:56 minute clip, his mom, Karri Kuzma, revealed that she started playing sports in the 8th grade and realized she was good at it. Noting that his mother was the best shot put, discus thrower in the country at one point, Kyle says that’s where he gets his ability to do a lot of stuff from.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Karri became pregnant with her first child, Kyle, while still in college and raised him as a single mother.

It was Karri who recognized her son’s potential as he blossomed into a college basketball standout. Since he was a first-round draft pick, she couldn’t help but get emotional as the chants of “Kuuuz” was heard through her T.V. on July 17, 2017, after watching her son star in the L.A. Lakers’ major win over the Portland Trailblazers.

After every game in the Summer League, Karri checked on how he was doing and give some motherly advice through the phone, Kyle said. She asked him how he was playing and advised him to let everyone see what he can do on the court.

Despite making it to the NBA, Kyle has no contact with his biological father and his mother has played the part of both parents. Nevertheless, he told the Detroit Free Press that he has a different father figure in Larry Smith, the father of his younger sister and brother.

Back in June 2015, he wished Happy Father’s Day to all moms that did both duties. Further, when a fan asked him who his favorite hero was, Kyle replied, “my mom.”

Being Neither Black nor White

“You’re only half of us,” the Black community kept telling him, noting that white people look at him as simply black or even worse. In his piece forThe Player's Tribune, Kyle said people of his ethnicity told such harsh things in front of him when he was in high school.

While growing up, Kyle says he was hit from both sides. 

Kyle, whose stance is “We’re people,” noted that every person has something they refrain from talking about. While for some people, these things could be body insecurities or past traumas, Kyle believes America avoids talking about race.

Kyle has always been outspoken about racism on Twitter, noting that it wasn’t “just one race” in his tweet in March 2021.

Further, in his piece for, Kyle noted his grandmother was a former police lieutenant; however, he couldn’t help feeling paranoid every time he gets pulled over.

The Lakers’ forward suggests that the country’s judicial and educational systems need to undergo a radical overhaul. He pointed out that they live in a different time and world than their ancestors.