The majority of Americans wake up each morning, have a cup of coffee, drive to work, then let the rest of the work day simply fall into place. As for the fourteen Los Angeles Lakers players, their respective work days do not quite follow suit with mainstream Americans.
While waking up to an alarm clock and drinking a cup of coffee may fit the profile for some of these athletes, the extent of their work day goes far beyond that. Come game day the Lakers have to be both mentally and physically prepared for what may lie ahead.
Indeed, game days are not like every day. The Lakers already eat, sleep, and breathe basketball, so how can they possibly distinguish game days from every other day?
For most of the players, each game day is relatively the same; attend morning shoot around, lift weights, take a nap and eat lunch, all before arriving at STAPLES Center approximately two hours before tip-off. But that is not the case for every Lakers player.
Take starting guard, and NBA veteran, Derek Fisher for example; prior to every game Fisher has a very specific agenda.
"I go to chapel, that is an important part for me," he said. "Then I work with Alex McKechnie (the Lakers' Athletic Performance Coordinator) or Chip Schaefer (Director, Athletic Performance / Player Development) and we do a series of work out and warm-up types of exercises, just trying to get my body nice and ready to go."
With 82 games in the NBA season, the Lakers players need repetition when it comes to physically and mentally preparing for each game.
"I feel like I am the type of person that likes consistency, I like to be organized, I like to have a feel for the way that things are going to go," Fisher explained. "When I am preparing before the game, I am feeling my body and feeling my mind and getting a sense of the energy that I am going to have going into the game, to try to help us win."
While his pre-game activities appear to be well predetermined, Derek Fisher only considers himself to be slightly superstitious.
"Sometimes I wonder, if we play a good game or a bad game, if there was something I did differently that could have impacted my preparation for the game," he commented. "But there are so many variables that go into it that I think it is hard to pick out one thing. Like I said, I like to warm up and prepare, listen to music and kind of start to get the energy up, block out some of the noise and just kind of get in my own space."
As unique as Fisher's pre-game habits may seem, he is certainly not the only one on the team with very specific routines that must be done prior to each game.
To pinpoint another unique pre-game activity, the team's young local, Trevor Ariza of Westchester High School likes to obtain his focus through his consistent eating habits.
"I eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches," he said plain and simple. "I don't know why, I just like to eat them before every game." For this Lakers player, all it takes is true All-American substance to provide his body with the energy needed to have a riveting performance each game.
Both Fisher and Ariza have interesting tasks that they have made custom for each game day, but for one Lakers player, what goes on before the game goes above and beyond the mental and physical preparation.
Although it may be surprising to some Lakers fans, forward Lamar Odom has very detailed and sentimental means of pre-game preparation.
The first part of Odom's preparation is similar to several other Lakers players. "I say a prayer to myself. I try to lift weights if possible. As far as when I go home after shooting practice, I like to take a nap, eat, and maybe work out a little bit more."
Once those mental and physical components are taken care of the 6-10 forward finds himself in a quiet place within the locker room, to prepare himself emotionally for his approaching performance.
"One thing that I always do is I write my grandmother, my mother, and my son's names on my sneakers." Odom said. "My grandmother passed away in 2004, my son passed away on the same day in 2006, and my mother passed away when I was 12. That is the ritual that must take place."
Certainly, Lamar Odom has a meaningful ritual that he repeats consistently before each game. However, he believes that what each athlete does prior to their performance is entirely up to the individual.
In regards to having specific routines prior to each performance, Odom says "It depends on what floats your boat. I think being consistent in your habits, whatever they are, is important. Whatever makes you feel comfortable, as far as getting ready for the game- everyone is a little bit different."
Now that you know what gets these Lakers going, it is time to discover what it is that floats your boat.
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