During the leaguewide shutdown because of the spread of the novel coronavirus that has now stretched to 40 days, the Lakers have found ways to keep themselves close as a team—and keep themselves entertained, to boot. It’s the team group text chat, which has been ongoing throughout this season.
We’ve already had some glimpses into the chat. The latest comes from Jared Dudley, who appeared with Allie Clifton of Spectrum Sports Net last week and summed it up this way: “A lot of teams have a group chat but it’s not, as they say, as ‘lit’ as ours.”
Sixth man Kyle Kuzma chimed in about it while speaking with Clifton earlier in the month.
“Every day, someone puts something funny in it,” Kuzma said, according to SB Nation. “Who’s the funniest? I mean, everyone has their days. I feel like that’s part of our team. On the basketball court, everyone has their night, and I think, group chat wise, everyone has their days. Some days, Bron’s just going crazy in there, (Dudley) is going crazy in there, JaVale (McGee) — it’s a revolving door.”
Kuzma’s Clothing a Group Chat Target
Dudley said that, lately, Kuzma himself has been one of the targets of ribbing from the group text participants. Kuzma has been known for his proclivity toward fancy clothing. Dudley said his haberdashery has gotten considerable scrutiny from teammates:
“Kyle Kuzma, like he is walking into the arena, the little runway he has at his house. I am screenshotting these ones where he is just dressing up in his house and I am sending them to the group chat. And we’re just firing off, people who looks like and—that’s been one of the funniest ones. He changes like he is really getting dressed. We all know that Kuzma is into fashion and I actually like the way he dresses at times, too, to be honest with you. But some of it is getting out of hand. So I’ll screenshot it and throw it into the group chat and once you throw it to the group chat, anything is liable to come out.”
“We have Dion Waiters rollerblading,” Dudley said. “That was off the hook.”
When Clifton pointed out that Waiters’ video was creative, Dudley said, “Just because it is creative and it looks good doesn’t mean it can’t get made fun of.”
Lakers Chemistry has Been Strong All Year
The Lakers have made their team chemistry a point of pride this year, one of the offshoots of their 49-14, best-in-the-Western Conference record. That came despite having an almost entirely rebuilt roster, a new coach and a restructured front office.
Star forward LeBron James commented on that earlier in the month.
“I can have some satisfaction on what our team has been able to do this year, having a first-year coach, first-year system, a whole new coaching staff, bringing on so many new pieces to our team this year,” James told reporters, according to ESPN. “Doing the things that I honestly — like I told you guys all year — I honestly didn’t think that we would be able to come together as fast as we did. I thought it would take us a lot longer than it did. But I was wrong. I was very wrong about that.”
Dudley agreed. A veteran of seven teams, he would know.
“There’s no team that has better camaraderie, better chemistry than us,” Dudley said. “And that’s not me making it up. That’s my experience, all these teams I have been around.”