The Los Angeles Lakers had to deal with an unexpected dose of drama last week when comments from Kyle Kuzma’s trainer criticizing LeBron James’ work ethic went viral.
Adding to the situation, Kuzma fired off an ill-timed tweet that read “call a spade a spade” that many construed as an endorsement of the comments made by Clint Parks, who the Lakers forward has trained with since his college days.
Lakers veteran Jared Dudley was asked about the situation in a Q&A interview with Bill Oram of The Athletic and said that the team’s veterans spoke to Kuzma, 24, about the situation. He admitted it can cause an issue if left unattended.
“It can cause a problem, yes, that’s true. It can cause a problem. That’s why communication is always big,” Dudley said. “Social media is always huge when it comes to being a trainer or comes to be anything outside. You don’t want anyone to speak for yourself. We’re all grown men. I don’t care if you’re 21, 19 years old. Once you can support your family, you’ve entered a different manhood. So for us, never let someone speak for you, never talk. But Kuz is a professional.
“Not only have I talked to him (about it), other players have talked to him. So when it comes to Kuz, this has been good for him, his maturity and having to deal with it. When I heard he was meeting with the media (after shootaround on Saturday), that’s something I would do. I would have gone to social media right then and there. “He don’t speak for me. Yes I’ve trained with him, but this is where I view it at.”
LeBron James Deals With Criticism Gracefully
Having been in the spotlight since his early teens, James has pretty much seen and heard it all when it comes to critics of his game. So when the news surfaced from Kuzma’s trainer, LeBron had a polite and poignant response.
“I don’t really care for somebody’s trainer or whatever the case may be. Everyone can have their own opinion,” James told reporters after a practice. “Any time someone wants to get some notoriety they can throw my name in and people are gonna pick it up. that’s why you’re asking me about it. Because my name was in it. I’ve never met the guy, I don’t know the guy, I could care less for the guy. Whatever the case may be, I wish him the best.”
As Dudley pointed out, Kuzma held court with the media to address the issue and dispel any misconceptions.
“I just told [LeBron] that I can’t control what another man says,” Kuzma said, via the Los Angeles Times. “Obviously I don’t feel that way. Everybody knows that me and LeBron have a great relationship and left it at that. can’t control another man’s mouth and what they say so we left it at that.”
Lakers Rolling Into the New Year
The Lakers haven’t been hung up on the drama, winning their last two. After starting 24-3, the Lakers dropped four games in a row, including their Christmas Day contest against the Clippers.
The Lakers are still on top of the Western Conference and will face the 13-20 Phoenix Suns on New Year’s Day.
The Lakers still have the best NBA title odds at +275, followed closely by the Clippers at +300, according to Odds Shark.