There was a time when fans dissed literally everything Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma did. A hater would lash out at him on Twitter when he missed a shot. When he posts something on Instagram not necessarily about basketball, it would be plagued with hate comments on his previous mediocre game or his entire stint with the Los Angeles Lakers. This experience has led Kuzma to come up with a profile of a typical NBA fan. And he has a simple reminder for them.
Your typical NBA fan
“The perception of a fan is you have to live in the gym; you have to die in the gym. You have to live in the gym; you have to wake up in the gym. It makes no sense. I have a life. … I’ve got friends, I have families, I have a partner. Yeah, I like things that I like. I’m 26 years old. My life is all about basketball. But at the same time, it’s not everything about basketball,” Kuzma said, per The Athletic.
Kuz had to learn the hard way how the archetypal fan thinks. In his last few months donning the Purple and Gold, Kuzma’s Instagram was populated with comments from fans telling him to work on his jump shot, stay in the weight room, and other pieces of unsolicited advice. Ironically, when Kuzma posts a photo or a video of himself putting in the work, his haters would tell him to stop pretending to train or that he is just doing it for the gram. It was a toxic cycle. Kuzma eventually had to limit comments on his posts.
Out of love
It’s not that Kuzma regrets working his tail off to make it to the NBA. He knows he is living the dream and that he’s playing with the best basketball players in the world. Rather, the one-time NBA Champion wants to tell fans that he did not make it to the league out of ill will towards the players he grew up watching. He did everything out of love.
“At the end of the day, the fan is the most important part to all of this,” he added. “With no fans, there’s no NBA. … But at the same time, you also have to know that we’re human, too, and I can have that balance. If you didn’t love basketball, you wouldn’t be in the NBA, because there’s only 450 of us here and every year there’s somebody trying to take your spot.”
Browse through Kuzma’s Instagram or Twitter now, and you won’t see a hate comment — at least not as prevalent as before. It could be because he’s in a better place in Washington where he’s able to play his own game. Or perhaps because Kuzma just rediverted his focus to the game he loves the most, instead of the people who try to bring him down.