Love it or hate it, trash talk is part of basketball, even in the pros. But it’s supposed to stay on the court. Sometimes, though, things spill over, and players get called on to respond to comments that catch them off guard. Such is the case of Josh Hart, former Lakers and current Pelicans player, who was caught on a hot mic saying some less than complimentary things about his former team.
Speaking on his podcast, LightHarted, Hart was responding to statements that guest Lonzo Ball made, criticizing Lithuania as “very depressing… gloomy… everybody just hates it there…”
Hart jokingly said, “Sounds like LA… I’m not talking about the city…” leaving fans to believe Hart was disparaging the organization and his former teammates. Hart says that’s not the case.
In his defense, Hart first said that those comments were sarcastic and not serious, and never meant to make it to the air. Then, he said he was talking about the front office, not the players or the fans. And, to make absolutely sure no one misunderstood, Hart says he called several of his former teammates to clear the air.
“I called some of the people in the front office, I called some of my teammates and made sure they knew that none of this stuff was about you guys…” Hart told ESPN. “I loved my time (there). I loved my time… and I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. I love Laker Nation… They show so much love, so much support…”
In his statements, Hart sidestepped sharing which specific people in the front office he had an issue with, but said his comments weren’t serious and that he would go directly to people he may have upset or offended. Then he tapped the brakes, downshifted and opened up about why he said what he did.
One of the specifics of Hart’s complaint is that he was included in a deal without his knowledge, in effect, traded without even a courtesy heads up, saying, “Sometimes things happen quickly, but, come on, you have (the) gist of if something’s going to happen… So just reach out… You understand in this league, this is a possibility… No hard feelings, but you want a heads up or to get a call the same day and not find out on Twitter.”
Hart added that he hopes his former teammates do well. And, they are. The Lakers have the best record in the NBA at the moment. At this point, it appears that Hart’s conciliatory comments helped him avoid controversy, but that will be reflected when the Pelicans next face LA. Its not good Public Relations to insult your former team.