Check out this fantastic article on the Lakers’ trainer, Gary Vitti!
NBA.com: As the longtime trainer of the Los Angeles Lakers, Gary Vitti — who has held the job for 26 years — gets more notoriety than the franchise players of many NBA teams. He has a look — shaved head, goatee — that pops and has been a sideline staple at the Staples Center (and the Forum before that) since the team’s Showtime era. He is a trainer of celebrity and a “celebrity trainer” all in one.
As the longtime trainer of the Los Angeles Lakers, Gary Vitti — who has held the job for 26 years — gets more notoriety than the franchise players of many NBA teams. He has a look — shaved head, goatee — that pops and has been a sideline staple at the Staples Center (and the Forum before that) since the team’s Showtime era. He is a trainer of celebrity and a “celebrity trainer” all in one.
I spoke with Vitti by phone recently during a break in his day at the Lakers’ El Segundo practice facility:
NBA.com: In your bio in the Lakers’ media guy, it says this: “On weekends, Vitti enjoys riding his Harley-Davidson through the canyons of the Santa Monica Mountains.” That’s the sort of hobby that would get a player in trouble. Is this a case of “Do as I say, not as I do?”
Gary Vitti: I guess. They don’t need me the way they need players. If I fell off my bike, the game would go on. But my wife and I were just talking about it the other day. She said, ‘You ought to sell this thing because you never use it anymore.’ I think I put about 300 miles on it last year. Because we played till June, and we’re seven-days-a-week here. I mean, every day is Monday for us. And when the season ends, the day after our last game — and that can include the championship game for us — we’re open for business. We go from seven days a week to five days a week in the offseason. So really, the only time I get to ride is Saturday or Sunday in the offseason. You count ‘em up, that’s not very many days.
NBA.com: That doesn’t leave much time for the house you own in Settefratti, Italy. (It’s in the mountains about 60 miles southeast of Rome.) Sounds like a nice offseason retreat — if you actually get over there.
GV: Same situation. I get about three weeks vacation. I leave around mid-August — I have to be in Italy by Aug. 17 because there’s this big feast in my village that starts on the 18th. That morning, they take this Madonna out of the church and parade her up this mountain to a Roman temple that is now another church, and she visits another Madonna up there. Then I come back on Labor Day. My wife and kids love it. It’s two different apartments, 400 years old, it’s in the ‘new’ part of town: The village is over 2,000 years old. This feast I’m talking about is almost 800 years old. That place really centers me. I need those three weeks over there. Get back to my roots — my parents were born over there. I grew up in an Italian neighborhood, but my kids grew up in southern California, so it’s important for them to know they’re Italian.