Lakers are visited by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Allyson Felix
Nobody was foolish enough to challenge Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to a competition in the weight room, but Kentavious Caldwell-Pope did challenge sprinter Allyson Felix, an Olympic champion, to a race.
“She was wearing jeans and untied Jordans and could probably still beat him in a race,” Kyle Kuzma said of the challenge.
Felix and Johnson interacted with the Lakers this week as part of a series of speakers they have had throughout the season meant to expose their young players to successful people in different fields. The speakers have ranged from Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk to recording artist Kendrick Lamar.
Felix spoke to the Lakers on Monday and Johnson on Tuesday. Johnson has a relationship with Lakers strength and conditioning coach Gunnar Peterson, who had several celebrity clients in his personal practice.
“He was great, he really was,” coach Luke Walton said of Johnson. “It was the first time I met him. Great messaging as far as what he’s done in his career from learning from his disappointments and his life experience and how he approaches different situations.”
Throughout the season the Lakers have made a point to offer different experiences to their players outside of basketball. The team took a trip to see “Hamilton” during their stay in New York. While in Memphis they visited the National Civil Rights Museum has a group.
“I think it’s very cool to see successful people they always have a story to tell,” Kuzma said. “It doesn’t matter whether you play basketball or you’re a wrestler or actor. Track and field star. Dreamworks, whatever. You can always take something from someone’s profession and use it in yours.”
Josh Hart starts shooting
As Walton addressed reporters after shootaround Tuesday, Josh Hart was running and shooting, his left hand still wrapped in medical tape.
“His hand is pretty fat still,” Walton said. “This is the first time he has been getting some shots up but this is the most he has done today as far as moving and doing drill work like this. We will keep re-evaluating him but my guess is at least a couple of weeks still.”
Hart’s surgery was done by the same doctor who performed Larry Nance Jr.’s surgery. Nance’s injury was a little less complicated than Hart’s but Walton is optimistic that Hart might be back before the end of the season.
Of the three players who are not able to play — Hart, Brandon Ingram (strained groin) and Channing Frye (appendectomy) — Walton guessed that Ingram would be ready first.
Alex Caruso nearing end
The Lakers had Alex Caruso, who is on a two-way contract, with them for Tuesday’s game. After Tuesday, Caruso will have one more day he is allowed to spend with the Lakers until the end of the G-League playoffs.
Players on two-way contracts may spend 45 days with the NBA team and must spend the rest of their time with the team’s developmental affiliate. After the G-League playoffs end, two-way players may return to the NBA level.