The NBA lockout has hit everyone hard, but while players make millions and can manage during a rough patch, the everyday staff members for organizations don’t have it so easy.
The Los Angeles Lakers let go a large portion of their basketball operations staff prior to the lockout as a cost-saving measure. Chris Bodaken (director of video services for 10 seasons) and Patrick O’Keefe (video coordinator for six seasons) were among that group. Because of that, the Lakers players felt so bad that they banded together and gave a portion of their playoff bonuses to Bodaken and O’Keefe. Led by Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher the players voted to donate roughly $65,000 for the pair to split.
Bodaken was incredibly grateful for what Bryant did:
“At the end of the day, he told us he was going to take care of us and he did. That’s not how most people in the world operate. He not only talks the talk. He walks it.”
O’Keefe said that Bryant always looks out for people “lower on the totem pole.”
Luke Walton took things further and provided individual financial gifts to the team’s training staff. He refused to disclose how much he donated to them, but did talk to the Los Angeles Times about why he did it:
“They’re a huge part of our team. When they got laid off, this was a way to let them know that we appreciate them. It was something to help them through what was already a tough time.”
This is a great story. Good for the Lakers. After a tough season for the players to get together and take care of the people who take care of them really makes us think that maybe people really do appreciate the things others do for them. The fact that Bryant, Fisher and Walton led the team to do this and gave up whatever money they could to help out really says a lot about who they are.