You know the age-old saying: “Boys will be boys.” That’s all well and good until, you know, you’re trying to convince LeBron James to come to your franchise. That’s where the Los Angeles Lakers find themselves currently and, reportedly, someone in the organization had enough of Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma’s attempt at starting a rap beef.
ESPN‘s Ramona Shelburne guest-hosted on Mason and Ireland Wednesday and touched on the entire situation, which stems from a diss track Ball fired off in Kuzma’s direction and public bickering that continued throughout last season. It‘s been mostly good-natured fun until Ball mentioned that Kuzma had no relationship with his father.
This, according to Shelburne, crossed a line.
“I know there’s people at the Lakers who are not happy about this and they spoke to both Kuzma and Lonzo about this and they told them to knock it off,” Shelburne said.
In an article penned a short time later, she wrote:
“Sources said the team spoke to both players and that there are no lingering issues and that both players agreed to tone down the joking insults on social media. After dealing with a social media fiasco involving the D’Angelo Russell-Nick Young video in 2016, the Lakers wanted to make sure to nip things in the bud before the potential of anything escalating.”
There are a few things going on here. According to just about everyone (though interestingly enough LaVar Ball doesn’t share this opinion) Ball and Kuzma are very close. Still, the absence of a father seems like the kind of thing Ball probably shouldn’t bring up.
All of this would probably received differently if the Lakers weren’t heading into a summer where they will be trying to convince James, who doesn’t have a track record of patience with immature teammates under the age of 23.
Now, more than ever, perception matters, and you can’t have two of the more promising players you‘ll be hoping to convince James to play with sending jabs at each other about their fathers — or lack thereof.
Where some analysis goes a little too crazy is when some posture that this would somehow completely prevent James from signing in L.A. If he doesn’t want to wait around for Ball and/or Kuzma to mature, he can simply ask that they be sent away from teammates he’d trust more as he tries to put together a team capable of toppling the Golden State Warriors.
According to Shelburne, both Ball and Kuzma are taking this request well and there won’t be any hard feelings towards the organization moving forward.