NBA standout Kyle Kuzma is having quite the year, both on and off the court. Aside from playing for the league-leading Los Angeles Lakers alongside megastars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the baller signed a multiyear deal with Puma in October. His latest milestone is starring alongside athletes and musicians, including Alex Morgan and DaBaby in Foot Locker’s latest Week of Greatness spot, “No Matter What.”
Here, Kuzma talks to FN about participating in the campaign, his lofty goals for Puma and the shoes fans can expect to see him wear this season.
Footwear News: What it like working alongside Alex Morgan, DaBaby and others in Foot Locker’s latest Week of Greatness campaign?
Kyle Kuzma: “It was a cool experience. Any time you can collaborate with other geniuses and people in different crafts, to see their greatness and apply it to what [you’re] trying to do, is a blessing.”
What were your initial thoughts when you were approached about the “No Matter What” spot?
KK: “It was pretty surreal for me to have this opportunity. To be in the position where I am using my platform is very humbling.”
How was Foot Locker as a partner? Do you want to work with the retailer again?
KK: “If it calls for it, yes. Obviously, they’re a great partner — the biggest footwear establishment. When you think about shoes, you think about Foot Locker. It’s always great working with them.”
Why did you choose to defect from Nike and sign with Puma?
KK: “I chose to sign with Puma because of the positive way they were trending. It’s a great company that’s been around for years, and they understand what the athlete wants. They’ve given me a lot of creative control on certain things and allowed me to have some input.”
What is your favorite on-court and off-court sneaker from Puma?
KK: “Clyde Hardwood [on the court] because it’s super light and a low-key shoe; it’s simple and elegant. And off court, I like the Ralph Sampson Low. It’s simple, casual, swaggy.”
Will we see you in bold colorways and player’s editions this season?
KK: “A few customizations are on the way; a PE is coming. I have certain things we’re working on to keep not only my brand moving, but also Puma. We are working with a few people, trying to make it a collaborative type of thing where we invest a lot of input, whether it’s Shoe Surgeon or multiple other customization people.”
What are your goals with Puma?
KK: “To move the needle. [I want] to be a guy who came into Puma and does something kind of like Steph [Curry] did. Steph is a guy who went from Nike to Under Armour and totally changed the perception Under Armour had. I want to have an effect like that.”
Are you looking to move the needle more from a performance perspective or lifestyle?
KK: “Both. It’s important because I’m a stylish guy, so trying to move units on the lifestyle side is a given. But from a basketball standpoint, I am a basketball player and I care about the innovation and how the shoes perform.”
Who has the best style in the NBA?
KK: “There are a lot of guys. The NBA is a place where they allow us to do so many different things to express ourselves. The tunnel runway took a whole 180. A couple of years ago you didn’t hear too much about the tunnel, but now [showing off outfits there is] just as important as the game.”
You play alongside two of the league’s biggest stars in LeBron James and Anthony Davis. With the additions, is there more pressure to win?
KK: “No, not at all. Being a Laker, there’s pressure to win. Obviously adding those two guys to the equation can, but when you’re a Laker you’re expected to win.”
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