Kyle Kuzma used a recent off-day for the Los Angeles Lakers to partner with JCPenney for a Christmas surprise that included a shopping spree for 25 children from a local YMCA.
Each child was provided with a $100 gift card that could also be used for the Sephora located within JCPenney, plus were given a 20 percent discount on their purchase. The event marked a fifth consecutive year JCPenney arranged Giving Spree events.
In 2018, their program expanded to each continental state and Puerto Rico, totaling 1,275 participants. As the children arrived to the store, they were greeted with a red carpet and private area that was sectioned off.
They were told of the gift cards they’d receive and also given an opportunity to predict who the surprise guest would be. “The Lakers!” one shouted.
Minutes later, Kuzma walked up to the group. Some children were awestruck, while others rose to their feet and clapped as the young forward greeted them.
“I’m excited to be here with you guys,” Kuzma said. “JCPenney has always done this Giving Spree, and I’m looking forward to helping you guys shop for Christmas.”
Kuzma’s involvement was the latest in a line of charitable work for the young Lakers forward. He remains actively involved in bringing awareness to the aftermath of the water crisis in Flint, Mich., and provides for those in need in Los Angeles, which he’s adopted as a second home.
“To see the smiles on their face, a lot of them were in shock, it was awesome,” Kuzma told LakersNation.com. “I get joy from seeing that.”
Although some might suspect Kuzma’s shopping acumen primarily lies with assisting young boys in picking out clothes, he was up to the task when a group of girls were in need of shoes. “I got this,” Kuzma said.
True to his word, Kuzma helped the three friends find matching Nike shoes. That did loosely fall under an area he is familiar with as a noted sneakerhead.
It’s that knowledge he intends to tap into when it comes to giving gifts to teammates, who Kuzma said are likely to receive shoes from him. When asked which pair makes for an ideal gift this holiday season, Kuzma named the Air Jordan 3.