EL SEGUNDO – The Lakers elected not to re-sign much of their training and basketball operations staff this summer. It was a total housecleaning move which seems pretty insane considering the vast amount of success the Lakers have enjoyed for the past… well, ever, but especially recently.
Kobe Bryant is generally considered a pretty hard-hearted guy, what with the poisonous snake moniker, ruthless desire to win and cool, calculated demeanor, not to mention the jaw-jut.
How are those two things related? Turns out Kobe Bryant was willing to do the right thing by the video staff, even if the Lakers decided to go in another direction. From the Los Angeles Times:
Kobe Bryant insisted on giving some of the team’s playoff bonus to two members of the Lakers’ video department whose contracts were not renewed after the season. Chris Bodaken and Patrick O’Keefe split about $65,000 of the Lakers’ playoff bonus.
“He always looks out for people who are lower on the totem pole,” O’Keefe said.
Said Bodaken: “At the end of the day, he told us he was going to take care of us and he did, and that’s not how most people in the world operate. He not only talks the talk. He walks it.”
via Lakers donate to help displaced staff members – latimes.com.
Yet another in a long series of things which make the players look like people willing to compromise and give in terms of money while the owners seem to be, you know, not that. But let’s not sully it by complicating it with the lockout. In reality, this was just a decent effort from a player to give back to the guys who help the team and don’t get their names in the highlight reels. Well, I mean, beyond Luke Walton and Derrick Caracter. It’s nice to hear about a player wanting to look out for the people who work hard for the team and don’t get the big salaries. And the fact that the rest of the players agreed is a nice touch, too.
The article also states that Walton specifically gave money individually to members of the training staff. The Lakers, usually regarded as a me-first group seem pretty considerate. More stories about things like this are always welcome.