Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma a reflection of his ‘dedicated and hard-working’ mom

first_img No. 1 Gonzaga routs Loyola Marymount Parents of Lakers rookies holding court with the media is nothing strange these days, not with LaVar Ball drawing cameras everywhere he goes.However, speaking to reporters before the Lakers’ 98-90 loss in Milwaukee on Saturday, Karri Kuzma said nothing that would be considered controversial. Cable networks did not air her comments throughout the night. She neglected to claim basketball superiority over any member of the Hall of Fame. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersIt raised the question of what the proud mama of one of the Lakers’ two star rookies makes of the flashy and polarizing pops of the other.“What do I think of LaVar?” Karri asked.Her eyes widened, like she was ready to make a run for the exit.“I’m just kidding,” she said, laughing.The two have met only once, Karri said, an encounter in which she found the Big Baller Brand head honcho to be “very humble.”center_img PHOENIX — Karri Kuzma told stories of her son’s childhood, how he loved basketball from the day she brought home a plastic hoop when he was a toddler.She described the challenges of life in Flint, Mich., how the water crisis there caused her to lose patches of hair and caused rashes before her oldest son got drafted by the Lakers and helped her move outside the boundaries of the hardscrabble city where the family’s roots run generations deep.Related Articles Karri was not going to approach LaVar, but her son Andre is “a very social person” and wanted to meet him. When he did he said, “This is my mom.”LaVar leaped up to give Karri a hug and introduced her to his wife, Tina.“They’re pretty down to earth,” Karri Kuzma said. “He’s a dad. He’s a proud dad. Whatever he’s doing, he’s got a master plan.”Andre, a high school junior, has remained close with 16-year-old LaMelo Ball. It’s the high school version of the bond between Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball that has energized the rebuilding Lakers.“Andre’s went from like 500 followers on Instagram to like 18,000 now,” Karri said.LaVar Ball’s zany public persona has taken a more serious tone in the past week while he has remained in China with his middle son, LiAngelo, after allegations of shoplifting prevented him from returning home with the UCLA men’s basketball team after a game there.But while LaVar Ball was grooming his sons to become basketball superstars, Karri Kuzma was busy at work, too. She worked various management jobs and as a massage therapist on the side to support a growing family.Kyle Kuzma has not met his father, but Karri had two more kids and a long-term relationship with another man whose work as a truck driver kept him away from home for long stretches of time.“Pretty much it’s been me,” she said, “yeah.”Lonzo Ball is often painted as the opposite of his over-the-top father. He is reserved where LaVar is garrulous; uneasy with attention rather than seeking it out. Kyle Kuzma, however, seems to be a perfect reflection of his mom.Asked what traits they share, Karri said she and her son are both “dedicated and hard working.”“He’s watched me work two jobs all the time,” she said. “So I think that instilled (those qualities) in him, because that was me when I was little.”She remembers her grandfather working every day. Her own mother worked two jobs, too.“I think it’s just something that’s instilled in you when you see that,” she said.In the eighth grade, Kyle Kuzma developed an “ABC” plan, telling his mother, “My Plan A is going to be NBA and if I can’t do that I’m going to play overseas. And if I can’t do that I’m going to be a commentator.”He can go ahead and ditch plans B and C.Kyle Kuzma said last week that he first started thinking of himself as a true NBA prospect when he spent a year at prep school in Philadelphia.“Kind of surprised myself at how well I did at that level,” he said. “A lot of those guys were in high school getting pro potential hype. I thought I could do it too.”His rise to stardom has been one of the NBA’s unexpected treats this season. Through 13 games, the last five as the starting power forward, Kuzma is averaging 15.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He is second among rookies in scoring and fourth in rebounds.The Lakers (5-8) are 0-3 on a four-game trip that concludes Monday against the Suns, who the Lakers beat 132-130 on Oct. 20.Last week, Coach Luke Walton acknowledged he has been “very surprised” by Kuzma and by “any rookie that can adapt as quickly as he can.”Karri Kuzma is not surprised. She always believed her son would be a first-round pick, even when the mock drafts left him off the board completely or listed him as a second-rounder.“I would watch the mock drafts,” she said. “Everybody would say don’t pay attention to those. … In my heart I believed he was going to go first round.”Just like LaVar Ball seemingly willed Lonzo’s Lakers career into existence, Karri trusted something good awaited her son.On Saturday, Karri got to see it in person for the first time in the regular season after attending three preseason games. She spent the weekend in the car, driving nearly six hours each way from her home in Grand Blanc, Mich. – less than 10 miles outside of Flint, but in a different water district.Inconspicuously seated at the top of the lower bowl, she looked on as her son scored a team-high 21 points and added 11 rebounds and spent the night giving Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo all he had defensively. The Greek Freak gave it right back, pouring in 35 points and snaring 15 rebounds.“I thought I matched up pretty well,” Kuzma said afterward. “But he gets those numbers on everybody in the league.”Driving distance or not, it was still a long way from Flint for the Lakers rookie.“He just deserves everything,” said his mom.last_img read more

Robert ‘Bob’ Meridith, 78, Wellington: Dec. 17, 1937 – July 6, 2016

first_imgBob MeridithRobert “Bob” Meridith, of Wellington, died Wednesday, July 6, 2016 at Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice in Wichita at the age of 78.Bob was born the son of Lois (Olmstead) and Jasper Meridith on Friday, December 17, 1937 in Hutchinson.On February 23, 1957, Robert and Sandra Adams were united in marriage in Argonia. Together they celebrated 59 years of marriage.Bob owned a Mobil service station in Wichita and was later the service station mechanic at Texaco in Wellington. Bob then went on to be the Shipping/Receiving Manager for Precision Machining in Wellington and retired after 23 years. He was a car enthusiast all his life, enjoyed working in the garage and NASCAR on Sunday afternoons. Above all, Bob was a devoted family man that loved his grandchildren and the time he spent getting them to and from events and appointments. He will be missed by many.Survivors include his wife, Sandra Meridith of Wellington; daughter, Lisa Meridith of Wellington; daughter, Laura Anderson (Nathan) of Halstead; son, Brian Meridith (Marci) of Oxford; brother, Bill Meridith (Judy) of Wellington; sister, Janet Leddy (Andy) of Conway Springs; sister, Judy Casner (Jack) of Milton, grandchildren: Brendan, Jenna, Tia, Kalin, Ashtyn, Adam, Dray, Brittin, Elizabeth, Taylor and Cayden along with many nieces and nephews.He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Jayree Ricke and niece, LaDonna Dawson. Visitation will be held at the funeral home from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Sunday, July 10, 2016 with the family present from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.Funeral services for Bob will be held at 10:30 a.m., Monday, July 11, 2016 at First Christian Church, Wellington. Interment will follow at Prairie Lawn Cemetery, Wellington.A memorial fund has been established in his loving memory to the Bryce Day Memorial Foundation. Contributions may be mailed or left with the funeral home.To share a memory or leave condolences, please visit www.cornejodayfuneralhome.com.Arrangements are by Cornejo|Day Funeral Home & Crematory, Wellington.last_img read more