In the eyes of many, greed has been the headline of the NBA summer.
The obvious story has been the NBA lockout, and when you finally sift through all the politics and positioning, money ultimately rules the day. Much of the same can be said for the Lakers organization, who laid off more than 20 employees earlier this summer, despite raising ticket prices (again) and inking a TV deal with Time Warner worth about $3 billion.
Amidst deficient reports from Wall Street and another rise in unemployment, those are the types of stories that detach fans from the athletes and organizations they so faithfully support. And this is the type of story that helps restore your faith in them…
In an effort insisted on by Kobe Bryant, the Lakers pooled together a percentage of their playoff bonus from last season and split it between a pair of long-time staff members who were released by the Lakers earlier this summer. Chris Bodaken and Patrick O’Keefe, who were both part of the Lakers video staff, reportedly split $65k. Bodaken offered nothing but praise for Bryant:
“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.”
In addition to the money pooled together from playoff bonuses, Lakers forward Luke Walton personally provided financial gifts to each member of the Lakers training staff following last season.
While money remains the topic of conversation in the NBA, at-least in this story, it finally has a positive spin.
You can check out the whole story over at the L.A. Times.