by Alex Poletti
Photo by ESPN
Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma finally added a rebound to his stats this year by having dinner with “High School Musical” star Vanessa Hudgens just one week after she broke up with former Disney star Austin Butler.
“It’s good to see my guy finally get a rebound,” teammate LeBron James says. “Of course, I’d rather see it happen on the court than in a swanky Brooklyn restaurant, but baby steps.”
Hudgens is new to the single game, splitting with “Zoey 101” star Austin Butler after nine years. A longtime Lakers fan, the Disney-turned-Broadway actress shouted out a couple of Los Angeles players, including Kuzma, in a tweet on January 13, just one day before her breakup became public.
“I’m not sure about Vanessa personally, but the month or so after a long term relationship is traditionally rebound season,” The Second String’s resident psychiatrist Dr. Aidan Eno says. “So if you’re a guy like Kuzma, you have to be close to the rim. Metaphorically, I mean.”
Kuzma has some success in the dating scene, having previously been linked to Kendall Jenner. However, he hasn’t been able to break into the gossip column in a big way like fellow NBA stars Ben Simmons or Blake Griffith. Hopefully, this can improve his reputation off the court and help his overall game under the lights.
“This is big for Kuzma,” sports analyst Stephen A. Smith says. “He’s a decent scorer, but beyond that his game is lacking. If he can start getting rebounds, even if he’s starting with Vanessa Hudgens or a stray Kardashian, it’s a sign that his game is improving. And this dinner shows that he got game.”
The 24-year-old Kuzma is playing admirably behind the power duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis in Staples Center, having made the All-Rookie First Team last season. While not a star like fellow sophomores Luka Doncic and Trae Young, Kuzma can still contribute.
“I count my blessings every day,” Kuzma tells The Second String. “Just to think I was almost part of the AD trade. Even though I got rejected by New Orleans, it was all part of something greater. I’d much rather get picked up by Vanessa Hudgens than the New Orleans Pelicans. No one wants to date a Pelican. Sorry Zion.”
So what does this mean longterm for the Utah graduate? Will Vanessa and Kyle last? If Kuzma starts to heat up, will this prove the “Moneyball” hot girlfriend theory? Only time will tell. The only thing we know is that Kuzma got the rebound like a champ, and that’s more than the rest of us will ever get to say.