Kyle Kuzma says he owed Joel Embiid a poster dunk


WASHINGTON -- Kyle Kuzma says he almost got Sixers big man Joel Embiid with a poster dunk his rookie year but couldn't finish the job (he was fouled), so when he had the opportunity to make up for it on Monday afternoon, he made sure to capitalize.

In the second quarter of the Wizards' win over the Sixers, Kuzma drove into the lane with his left hand and threw down a thunderous right-handed slam right on Embiid, one of the biggest players and most formidable shot-blockers in the league. Kuzma provided the exclamation point for the Wizards in what became a blowout victory over a very good team.

"I owed him, actually, because my rookie year I tried to dunk on him and it didn't go so well. He came up to me after, I told him that and he told me if I did that again he would punch me in the face. I owed him, for sure," Kuzma said.

Kuzma, who had 15 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks in the game (one on Embiid), said the dunk will be one he remembers for a long time. That is in part because he doesn't dunk on players all that often.

Kuzma is 6-foot-10, but has more of a perimeter-based game. His scoring often comes from the three-point line and on crafty plays around the rim.

Dunking on other NBA players is hard, even when you're 6-foot-10. And it is especially rare for it to happen against a player like Embiid, who is 7-feet and 285 pounds.


"That was pretty darn amazing, that's about all I can say," interim head coach Joe Blair said. "Hopefully he gets on SportsCenter top-10 with that. Let's say SportsCenter top-5, come on."

Kuzma is third on the Wizards this season with 16 dunks, but a distant third. Daniel Gafford and Montrezl Harrell, who entered the game with 90 and 88 dunks on the season, respectively, lead the team.

The dunk on Embiid certainly stands out among Kuzma's 16 slams on the season. Maybe he will frame a picture of it someday and hang it in his house.

Well, actually, maybe that would be going too far. As questions about the play kept coming from reporters during his postgame press conference, Kuzma decided to downplay it a bit.

"I mean, it wasn't that nasty, honestly. I dunked on him. It wasn't that spectacular. I'm half-white, so I didn't get up that high. I'm just glad I got there," he joked.