Lonzo Ball is "a ballplayer," not a rapper -- so says T.I. ... who tells TMZ Sports he's got ZERO interest in hitting the studio with the rookie MC.
Don't get it twisted -- T.I. thinks it's great Lonzo dropped a track in honor of LaVar ... but the King of the South ain't convinced Ball's serious about mastering the craft.
"He would have to establish himself and really, really put in the work as an artist, and he'd really have to dedicate himself to the arts, in order for me to take him seriously," T.I. told us at LAX.
Don't think T.I. realized 'Zo released a full 17-track mixtape, but the bottom line -- Ball's got A LOT of bars to spit to get respect in the rap game.