Kyle Kuzma Responds to Isaiah Thomas’ Trolling, Calls Him ‘Stewart Little’

At 5'9″, Isaiah Thomas is a normal sized man who wouldn't stick out in a crowd, but by NBA standards he's a dwarf. Because of this, he tends to get his balls busted at what we assume is a higher-than-average rate. An example went down on Monday night/Tuesday morning teammate when Kyle Kuzma posted this relatively cliche Instagram pic about working hard:

 

Not much talkin to do. SHOW ME.

A post shared by Kyle Kuzma (@kuz) on May 21, 2018 at 9:33pm PDT

This led to the tandem showcasing their best Rock/Kevin Hart impression, after Thomas wondered (publicly) if Kuzma was going to pull this all summer. Kuzma hit him back by calling him “Stewart Little,” a probable reference to the 1999 flick, Stuart Little.

Isaiah Thomas and Kyle Kuzma exchange IG insults.
Image via Twitter

A few people in the IG comments seemed to think that the pair was being serious, but they were not, as these tweets can attest to:

Performance art.

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Kyle Kuzma Wants Lonzo Ball to Drop an Album on the Same Day as Nas

Amateur rapper and professional basketball player Lonzo Ball has been taking shots at Nas for a while now, having previously said, “Don't nobody listen to Nas anymore.” Needless to say, his comments ruffled a few feathers at the time. Critics haven't been quick to forget about his comments, either, and with a new Kanye West-produced Nas album reportedly on the way in June, fellow Lakers player Kyle Kuzma has a challenge for Ball.

Taking to Twitter, Kyle proposed something to Ball, saying, “Hey @ZO2_ Nas is dropping his album June 15th… make one by that time and let's see who is better… America do you want to see this?” Lonzo, who released his debut rap album Born 2 Ball in February, has yet to respond, but with it giving him another chance to diss Nas, it won't be long before he says something that gets people riled up.

The news of a new Nas album coming so soon caught most of Twitter by surprise last night, with Kanye announcing the news after reiterating the release dates for all the other projects he's announced in the past week or so.

The beef between Nas and Ball has been pretty one-sided up until this point, with Lonzo taking cheap shots while expressing his love for Migos and Future. However, Nas hasn't been one to shy away from beefs in the past, so he could very well finally respond on his forthcoming album. He could also continue to ignore him, though, perhaps considering him not worthy of a response.

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The Rock May Have Motivated Kyle Kuzma and the Lakers to Knock Off the Nuggets

The Lakers have one of the youngest teams in the entire NBA. The average age of the players on the team is just a shade under 25, and while that should offer some hope for the future to all of the Lakers fans out there, it also indicates that the majority of the Lakers players still have a lot to learn—both on and off the basketball court.

To try and help them along in life, the Lakers have set up a series of “Genius Talks” this season that have featured high-profile people coming in and talking to the team. Hollywood executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, SpaceX founder Elon Musk, and rapper Kendrick Lamar are just a few of the celebrities who have delivered motivational speeches to the team in recent months.

On Tuesday, it was Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson’s turn to do it. He met with Lakers players, coaches, and executives and shared his story with the team in an effort to motivate them. According to the Orange County Register, The Rock spoke about overcoming adversity and disappointment during his speech to the team.

Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and controlling owner/president Jeanie Buss were ecstatic to have The Rock in the building.

It looks like whatever The Rock said really lit a fire up under the Lakers, too. On Tuesday night, they took on the Nuggets, a team that had beaten them in their last two matchups, at the Staples Center. And despite blowing a double-digit lead in the first half and falling behind by 5 points heading into the fourth quarter, the Lakers rallied to knock off the Nuggets 112-103 to pull themselves back to within just five games of .500 on the season.

It’s impossible to say whether or not The Rock actually had anything to do with the performance the Lakers put forth against Denver. But after the game, Lakers head coach Luke Walton suggested The Rock’s words seemed to put a little extra fire into rookie Kyle Kuzma. Kuzma scored a team-high 26 points against the Nuggets, including 16 in the third quarter alone, despite playing with an ankle injury—and Walton told reporters The Rock’s speech may have had something to do with it.

“Maybe it was The Rock that motivated him to fight through the injury like that,” Walton said.

Kuzma didn’t say if that was actually the case. But he spoke with reporters as well and talked about how cool it was to have The Rock speak to the Lakers on Tuesday. Kuzma said that, like most people his age, he was a “big fan” of The Rock growing up, and he said he was amazed to learn The Rock is now a big fan of his as well. It seems The Rock saw the interview Kuzma did after scoring a career-high 38 points against the Rockets back in December, and he apparently told Kuzma he was impressed with it.

“He just loved my response to what I said,” Kuzma said. “He thought it was pretty cool, so that was pretty cool actually.”

The Rock may have had something to do with the Lakers playing so well against the Nuggets, but he might not deserve all of the credit. Olympic sprinter Allyson Felix met with the team this week as well. She spent time with the Lakers on Monday, and it sounds like she may have gotten the competitive juices flowing just like The Rock did. According to the Orange County Register, Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope challenged her to a race, which amused most of his teammates to no end.

“She was wearing jeans and untied Jordans and could probably still beat him in a race,” Kuzma said.

There’s no telling who the Lakers are going to bring in next as part of their “Genius Talks” series. But it’s clearly something that’s having an impact on the young team this season, and we wouldn’t be surprised at all to see other young NBA teams start adopting the same strategy in the coming seasons.

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Kyle Kuzma Really Enjoyed Watching Isaiah Thomas ‘Try to Kill’ the Cavaliers

Isaiah Thomas got a little bit of retribution against the Cavaliers, his former team, on Sunday. The Lakers pulled out a 127-113 win, and Thomas scored 20 points, racked up nine assists, and chipped in five rebounds. In terms of plus/minus, a measurement of how an individual player affects a team's score while he's on the floor, Thomas had his best game of the season (+18).

Thomas claimed after the win that it was just another game.

We don't buy it. There's no question this one meant something to I.T. Throughout the game, he barked at the Cavs' bench. The 5-foot-9 guard has always played with a chip on his shoulder, but that chip was especially evident Sunday. 

Lakers rookie forward Kyle Kuzma noticed it, too. Kuzma said he enjoyed seeing Thomas' killer mentality against Cleveland.

“He was barking at Cleveland's bench the whole time every time he scored, so that was cool,” Kuzma said at practice Monday.

He added: “He was only there for like 15 games or whatnot, but it was good to see him try to kill them. We have a saying, 'Your last team, they didn't want you.' So he took it to them and did a great job.”

Watch Kuzma's full post-practice interview below.

It might be a stretch to say the Cavs “didn't want” Thomas, but they definitely needed a change. It's yet to be determined whether the dramatic shakeup they made at the deadline will be enough to get Cleveland back in the Finals.

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Kyle Kuzma Clowns Lonzo Ball for Eating a Big Bowl of Cheese for Dinner

Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball love roasting each other. As we wrote earlier this week, Kuzma is quickly emerging as perhaps the NBA's best social media presence, and his jabs back and forth with Ball are a big reason for it.

The two were rivals in college just a year ago—they both played at Pac-12 schools (Kuzma at Utah, Ball at UCLA)—but they've formed a close and hilarious friendship during their first year in the NBA, a friendship fueled by social media. The latest playful exchange happened at a Lakers team dinner, where Kuzma found Ball eating a dinner that consisted of…a full bowl of cheese.

“Ay yo, big dog, you hungry, bruh? Are you hungry right now?” Kuzma asks Ball. “This dude is eating plain cheese. That's it.”

At the beginning of the video, Kuzma also teases their fellow rookie Josh Hart, who had just broken a bone in his left hand. 

Kuzma also roasted Hart after he posted a dramatic photo, post-injury, on Instagram. Larry Nance Jr., who was traded at the deadline to the Cavs, got in on the fun, too.

Man, these rookies really seem to like each other. Regardless of whether the Lakers land LeBron James in free agency, they have the start of something good here.

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Lonzo Ball Says These Are His Top 5 Rappers at the Moment

Last year, someone dug up a 2016 tweet from Lonzo Ball where he ranked his top five all-time rappers. The list included Lil Wayne, Future, DMX, 50 Cent, and Tupac. As you would expect, it received its fair share of controversy.

Nearly two years since that tweet was posted, Ball was asked to give his current list of top five rappers. Since Lonzo recently dropped his album Born 2 Ball, we expected him to go full Dylan and name himself in all five spots. However, Ball provided an actual list, and it goes as follows: Future, Drake, Quavo, Offset, and 21 Savage.

Since the question started off by pointing out that Ball was currently in Atlanta, the “capital of hip-hop,” it’s hard to determine if that lead-in was the reason behind the Atlanta-centric list. Considering Ball named Future on his all-time rappers list, it's no surprise that he would include him alongside Drake, Quavo, Offset, and 21 Savage. 

Drake has been arguably one of the most consistent rappers over the last couple of years, so it makes sense to have him on the list. Quavo's name was attached to two of the most highly anticipated projects of the last few months in Culture II and Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho. Offset (who was obviously also on Culture II) and 21 Savage dropped their surprise project Without Warning not too long back.

Each list is subjective, so we can't knock Lonzo too much for what he considers to be his favorite rappers at the moment. But all we want to know is where's the love for Kendrick Lamar? K. Dot released the Grammy-nominated Damn last year and served as co-executive producer on Black Panther: The Album. Where is the disconnect? That's all we want to know. 

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LeBron to the Lakers This Summer? Not So Fast, According to a New Report

Folks around the NBA have murmured for more than a year now about LeBron James' purported interest in bolting to Los Angeles when he has the opportunity to opt out of his contract during the 2018 offseason. Would he really leave his hometown team twice in his career? That remains to be seen. But people around the league have suspected as much—and suspected that he's headed for Los Angeles—for a long time now.

LeBron owns two houses in L.A., and conquering the West would provide him with a new challenge—a new potential legacy boost, if you will. Also, the Lakers have a wealth of cap space, a promising young roster, and a storied history. If he could bring them back to prominence, well, it would do a ton for LeBron's place in the history books. Of the two L.A. franchises, it seemed way likelier that LeBron would desire a spot on the roster of the Lake Show.

According to a new report from two of the most plugged-in NBA reporters, however, the Lakers may pass on pursuing LeBron this offseason. As Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN report, the Lakers are focusing their efforts—and their cap space—on the free-agent class of 2019 rather than that of 2018. The 2019 class is indeed ripe with young talent; Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, and Jimmy Butler could be among the players on the market.

In 2018, it's expected that LeBron, Paul George, and DeMarcus Cousins will be available. But LeBron, as great as he is, is 33, George seems very interested in sticking with the Thunder, and Cousins just suffered an absolutely debilitating Achilles injury.

This recalibration also reportedly stems from the Lakers' lack of belief that LeBron is actually interested in joining the team. Though L.A. has a bunch of gifted young players—including Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma—there isn't a bona fide star on the roster. LBJ would be taking a big risk by signing with the yellow and purple.

A lot could change in the next few months, of course. The Lakers are still reportedly shopping Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson. But with this latest report, it looks a lot less certain that LeBron will head to Hollywood this summer.

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Kyle Kuzma Insults LaMelo Ball’s Teeth in Awkward Instagram Comeback

Throughout this NBA season, young Los Angeles Lakers stars Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball have developed a pretty interesting rapport on social media with their ongoing Troll Wars. By the looks of it, the two have become pretty close friends since joining the team, and what do all good friends do best? Relentlessly roast the hell out of each other. Both have gotten some good digs in on each other, but now it looks like even Lonzo's younger brother LaMelo is getting involved in the back-and-forth. 

Ahead of a Jan. 17 contest against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Kuzma posted a photo of his pregame fit to his Instagram. 

 

❄️❄️

A post shared by Kyle Kuzma (@kuzmakyle) on Jan 17, 2018 at 3:28pm PST

A quick look at the comments and you can see that LaMelo let his opinion be known that he wasn't too fond of the outfit Kuzma was flexing on social media by commenting, “He think he fly.” Rather than peacefully ignore the subtle jab, Kuzma decided the proper solution was to go right for LaMelo's jugular and clap back at his appearance as well. The high quality response read, “I'm so fly I could fly between that gap between yo teeth.”

No worries though. The 17-year old took the comment in stride. Apparently, he's even ready to fight another round after that haymaker. “Ima have to grill him,” LaMelo tweeted. 

This isn't the first time Kuzma has taken a shot at LaMelo. Before the 16-year old and his brother LiAngelo made the move from Chino Hills, California to Lithuania to play for Prienu Vytautas, LaMelo decided to post a goodbye on his IG. His caption read “Ima Miss The Hills,” and Kuzma was quick to assure LaMelo that “the hills ain't gone miss u.”

Kyle Kuzma, LaMelo Ball IG
Image via Imgur

This Troll Wars saga between the Ball family and Kuzma is starting to reach Bird-Magic levels of intensity, and we should all be appreciative of it. Most recently, Kuzma even came at Lonzo for rocking “toddler shoes.”

Despite the two young players clearly loving to come at each other's style whenever possible, the off-court chemistry is sure to eventually translate into some on-court success for years to come, much to the chagrin of Lakers fans everywhere. 

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The Lakers Might Call on Kendrick Lamar to Help Improve Their Team

On Monday night at the Staples Center, the Lakers will face the Warriors and there will be a special halftime show commemorating Kobe Bryant. The team plans to retire both jerseys he wore, No. 8 and No. 24, respectively. Since his retirement in April 2016, the Lakers have revitalized the team with a young core; among them are Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and others.

Rob Pelinka, the general manager for the Lakers, is one of the most important people in Kobe’s career. He spent 18 years as his agent before becoming the Lakers GM, and really, one of Kobe’s closest friends. Now, with Bryant away from the purple and gold, Pelinka is finding new ways to spark inspiration within the team, motivating them to reach the caliber and chemistry of past Laker squads.

It starts with talking with a few renaissance men who strive to change the world every day. In an interview with USA Today, Pelinka shared his idea of “Genius Talks.” He brings the team to people who are the absolute best in their industry in order to create an inspired culture within the Laker brand.

The first was Elon Musk, and they visited his SpaceX lab in nearby Hawthorne in October. Pelinka said:

“It was like going to the set of Ironman; just unbelievable. The players were just amazed. It was the coolest thing. One of the guys said (to Musk), 'Well we play against other teams, so how do you study your competition, or what's your way of staying No. 1?' And he said, 'My competition is irrelevant to me. If what I'm doing, I do excellently, then it doesn't matter.' And so you pick up little things like that.”

The next was Jeffrey Katzenberg, who co-founded Dreamworks and was the head of Disney studios from 1984 to 1994. The Hollywood mogul told them, according to Pelinka:

“'You know, when I was making the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, I had a mantra in my head, and it was exceed expectations.'” He said, ‘I wanted to sit in the back of the theater when the kids were watching, and I wanted them to be jumping out of their seat. I wanted to exceed their expectations.’”

A person who will undoubtedly inspire the Lakers is Kendrick Lamar, and it sounds like Pelinka may lock in the TDE rapper for an upcoming session of “Genius Talks.” Lamar's had an incredible year with the release of Damn and his seven Grammy nominations

Pelinka further explains that “Genius Talks” is meant to tap into the team's various interests to make them better people and better basketball players.

“Magic and I wanted to identify geniuses in their space. Our core belief is that more developed men make better basketball players. I think Magic, if you look at how diversified he is with his interests. Kobe, the guy studies everything under the sun. I'm reading a biography right now on Leonardo da Vinci, and he has the ultimate curiosity of all things. If he's painting a hummingbird, he wants to like take its tongue and see what it looks like so he can paint it. So geniuses in life, right, can inspire us on how to be better.”

“So once a month, we try to do that, and the reason that it, to me, is important, is it shows the way we're really trying to do things differently, and it gets back to what I said at the beginning: Support and service. How can we bring things to the guys to make them better human beings and better Lakers basketball players?”

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