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Lakers host rap star Kendrick Lamar as part of 'Genius Series'

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The day after losing their season opener in Portland, the Los Angeles Lakers gathered in their film room and listened to a Pulitzer Prize winner talk to the team about sacrifice, preparation and releasing negativity.

Kendrick Lamar, the first rapper to win the Pulitzer for music, visited with the Lakers at their team facility on Friday as part of their "Genius Series." General manager Rob Pelinka started it last year when the team invited some of the most successful people in different industries to talk to the team throughout the season.

Lamar was slated to talk to the team last year, but a scheduling conflict delayed it until Friday.

"It's funny 'cause sometimes you don't talk to other people that are at the top of their craft, and when you talk to them, you see the parallels," Lakers guard Josh Hart said. "When he gets ready for a show, he lets all the negativity out. He doesn't party. He doesn't do certain things before shows because he wants to be dialed [in], he wants to be focused for him to get his message across in that show and people who pay money to see him."

Lamar's talk with the Lakers came less than 24 hours after the team's 128-119 loss in Portland and less than 24 hours before LeBron James makes his Staples Center regular-season debut as a Laker against the Houston Rockets on Saturday.

"There's so many parallels between artists like Kendrick in the music industry, actors, stuff like that," Hart added. "Guys that hold him accountable in his own profession whether he's doing a show, whether he's in the booth working on a song, working on an album."

Last season, the Lakers sprinkled in speakers such as actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Hollywood heavyweight Jeffrey Katzenberg and Olympic and world champion sprinter Allyson Felix to share their secrets to success.

James, who was invited on to the Staples Center concert stage recently at Drake's concert along with rapper Travis Scott, has often surrounded himself with some of the most successful people in the world and enjoys every opportunity he gets to do so.

"I'm just blessed and honored I can be in the same room as some of the greats in their respective fields," James said recently. "That's [comedian Dave] Chappelle and [rappers Jay-Z] and Drake. I had an opportunity to speak with Barack Obama and I was in the Oval Office. I was on stage with him before. I look at myself sometimes and I say I'm just a kid from Akron and I'm able to be around people who will be known forever even after their years of existence. It's just a cool thing."

On the same day that Lakers coach Luke Walton preached about attention to details, Lamar also talked about similar principles to success.

"When he's working on an album before it comes out, six months before he starts working on it, he starts getting into that mindset of how he wants the dialogue to go, how he wants the listener to react," Hart said. "Obviously we're not getting in the booth and laying down some bars. I think some of us can. But it's the mindset that we have to get into. It's the mindset of doing our roles, to sacrifice for the greater quality of the team.

"He talked about [how] he doesn't party before shows," Hart added. "Going out there sacrificing, holding each other accountable and it being one team -- it's not just one individual. He said he's one of the guys at the top of the music industry, it's not me -- it's because of this guy, this guy, this guy, it's because of his team. Those were some of the parallels. Obviously, we'll have to switch it up a little bit, but we can relate it to ourselves and our profession."