Gary Vitti Rumors
Lakers forward Nick Young said that longtime Lakers trainer Gary Vitti addressed the team about Odom, who played for the Lakers from 2004 to 2011 and had a key role on their 2009 and 2010 NBA championship teams. Odom also won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year honor in the 2010-11 season. At the time, Odom credited his marriage to reality television star Khloe Kardashain for his success. But Kardashian filed for divorce in 2013, citing irreconcilable differences. The divorce has not yet received final approval from a judge. “(Vitti) told us pretty much everything that’s been going on and how Lamar was, and how he thought the Lakers were his family,” Young said. “He told us a story about how many people he lost in his life and friends. It’s sad. I don’t know how anybody can deal with that.”
Gary Vitti on Julius Randle: So no matter what we do – we bring in officials, we scrimmage, have a little intrasquad scrimmage, that’s more than what he was doing before. But it’s not as much as summer league. No matter what they’re doing in summer league, it’s not going to mimic training camp. We’re going to play eight preseason games . Whatever those eight games are like and the practices in between, even though the loads and intensity are going to be greater than what we experienced in summer league, there’s still not going to be the same as a real NBA game. When you’re playing with your five guys and playing against their best five, there’s nothing you can do to recreate that. I don’t think people fully understand that. So it takes somebody like me to protect him from himself.”
Mike Trudell: How did you come upon the decision to step down from the job you’ll have held for 32 years after this season? Gaty Vitti: The plan was always to get to 62 (years old), so that I could begin to collect my NBA pension. You can start collecting at 59-and-a-half, but you get a bump if you stick it out. I had to stick it out, but I could have gone longer if I wanted to. That said, 32 years in this position is enough. I’ve spoken to my children quite a bit about it, and I’ve spoken to my wife. I kind of looked at my life as being divided into thirds. I took this job when I was 30 years old, or a third of my life until I began with the Lakers. It will be 32 years that I will have worked here, so that’s another third. My parents are 94, so theoretically I may live for another 30 years. So that’s a third, a third and a third. Two-thirds are behind me, and I’m looking to the third ahead of me to enjoy the fruits of my labor and the experiences and the memories and the relationships that I’ve had through the first 62 years of my life.
Mike Trudell: What’s the plan for you after this season? Gary Vitti: I have a three-year contract: one more year as the head guy, and I have all the intentions of fulfilling that contract, just like I have the last 31 years of being the head guy; not with one foot out the door, but with both feet in the door. And then the year after I think the title is something like “Athletic Trainer in Residence/Special Consultant to the General Manager.” I’ll have a business card probably the size of your computer screen. I think it would be helping transition the new person into that head trainer position. Still working with the players, coaches and the new staff. I look forward to that as more of a mentorship position. Just like the term represents itself: a consultant.
Vitti is often an emissary between players and management. He recently met up with Bryant, with whom he shares a longtime bond. “He was asking about our young kids, and I said, ‘You cannot believe how quick and athletic Jordan Clarkson is. He looks fantastic,'” Vitti said. “I said I personally thought D’Angelo Russell is going to be a star. He makes hard things look easy when he has the ball in his hands. “Then Kobe said to me, ‘Well, then who’s going to play [small forward]?’ I looked at him and I said, ‘You.’ And with absolute, 100% confidence, he said, ‘I can do that.'”
When Vitti started with the Lakers in 1984, he was only slightly older than most players. “Now I’m old enough to be their fathers and some, I guess, even their grandfathers,” he said. Vitti, 61, remembered the good times and bad in an interview with The Times. He will remain with the team as a special consultant two more years after next season, but his traveling days will end, along with the team’s round-the-clock reliance on the NBA’s longest-tenured trainer.