Former Lakers forward expresses how much he misses getting to play on Christmas

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read

Kyle Kuzma reflected on some warm Christmas memories when the former Los Angeles Lakers player took to social media to say how much fun he used to have taking part in the NBA’s famed holiday schedule.

Kuzma is currently in the midst of his third season with the Washington Wizards, who were not scheduled to play this Christmas Day nor in the previous two seasons. The 28-year-old played his first four NBA seasons with the Lakers and was in action on the marquee holiday in each of those.

He scored 31 points in his first Christmas game as a rookie in 2017, but the Lakers lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Kuzma followed that with 19 points in a win against the Golden State Warriors in 2018, 25 points in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in 2019 and 13 points in a win against the Dallas Mavericks in 2020.

That string of successful individual performances certainly would conjure pleasing holiday memories for the University of Utah product.

As one of the signature franchises in the NBA, the Lakers are often featured on its Christmas schedule and are facing the Boston Celtics this season. It is the first meeting on the holiday between the rivals since 2008, when then-Los Angeles head coach Phil Jackson earned his 1,000th career victory by ending Boston’s 19-game winning streak.

The Lakers entered the game against the Celtics on Monday tied with the New York Knicks with 24 Christmas Day victories. The Knicks created that tie by defeating the Milwaukee Bucks earlier Monday.

Lakers star LeBron James extended his NBA record by playing in his 18th Christmas Day game. Former Lakers great Kobe Bryant is second with 16 Christmas appearances. The two legends also rank No. 1 and No. 2 in Christmas scoring, with James at 460 points entering the game against the Celtics, followed by Bryant at 395 points.

The Lakers ended a four-game losing streak with a win against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday and are trying to regain some momentum heading into the new year.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. He remembers the birth of "Showtime" and has always admired the star power the Lakers have brought to the game.