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Friday, August 19th, 2011 at 9:30 am  |  18 responses

Lakers Players Donated Playoff Bonuses to Fired Team Staff


Kobe Bryant and other teammates chipped in some of their postseason earnings to help out Laker team staff members who weren’t retained due to the lockout. From the LA Times: “Kobe Bryant insisted on giving some of the team’s playoff bonus to two members of the Lakers’ video department whose contracts were not renewed after the season. Chris Bodaken and Patrick O’Keefe split about $65,000 of the Lakers’ playoff bonus. Bodaken started with the Lakers as a ball boy in 1986 and spent the last 10 seasons as their director of video services. O’Keefe was the Lakers’ video coordinator for six seasons. They both hope to be re-hired by the team when the NBA lockout ends. For now, they are thankful for Bryant’s financial gesture. ‘He always looks out for people who are lower on the totem pole,’ O’Keefe said. Said Bodaken: ‘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.’ The Lakers laid off about 20 employees for cost-cutting reasons before the lockout, which has shown no sign of a resolution since it began July 1. … Lakers reserve forward Luke Walton took an extra step after the season by providing individual financial gifts to members of the training staff.”

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  • John

    Dang, I hate showing the Lakers any kind of love, but this is pretty cool. (although I’m sure haters will show up and make some snarky comment about the total dollar amount given)

  • Charles

    Awesome story!

  • http://hotmail.com The WZA

    That’s what’s up. Showing real class.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Max

    That is great.

  • http://dskjfl.com Jukai

    I usually don’t support Kobe at all, but this wins him real big in my books. Great show.

  • TL

    Damn Luke Walton. I don’t hate you as much anymore.

  • hiphopcop

    Kobe is coming up real big this last week, I’m a laker fan and really can’t stand him sometimes, but he’s doing his part doing this lockout, rallying the troops and helping those that were layed off because of the lockout

  • Heals

    Why’d it take this long and what about the other employees who were fired! Seriously though, good stuff from the purple and gold (not the front office crew)…

  • robb

    It’s great when people care. Believe me I know, I’ve been at the other end and you don’t know how easy it is for wealthy people not to give a f*ck. Fortunately these guys got help from Kobe and Co.

  • slamfan4life

    KOOBEEE

  • http://www.nba.com/celtics lightsout

    awesome. great move by the Lakers.

  • retrobat

    Wow! It seems rare that you ever hear a story like this. My question would be, why aren’t the billionaire owners keeping these people on staff? If the players can afford to give up $65K, then how broke exactly is the owner? I think it is great what the individual players did and reflects poorly on the owner. Unfortunately it is indicative of how our current economic system is. Wealthy people are typically only concerned about getting more and whatever they currently have is never enough.

  • TheTruthSuuucks

    It was a nice gesture but the lower totem pole people are the food workers and people that clean the toilets that won’t have a job when the NBA season doesn’t start. These are the people that will be really hurt when the Kobe’s of the world fight over millions.

  • unrel

    @TruthSuuuucks.. i may be wrong.. but the people you’re talking about are employed by Staples Center.. and can work other sporting events/concerts/shows.. lakers laid of 20 people to save money… so those 20 were probably making quite a bit themselves.. two guys got to split 65k for a few months.. pending the lock out, of course.. 32.5k is 1.5 years of work for me..

  • http://www.yamahyouth.com Germs

    Great gesture by the players. @unrel; yeah it’s really a lot of money for just a few months of work.
    Just to feed the haters; they are talking about donated playoff bonuses. Those couldn’t be that much last year…

  • steve

    wow….credit where credit is due and this definitely raised both the image of the team and my respect for them immensely. such a noble notion to look after those who are most severely affected by the lockout and who are probably the most easily forgotten.

  • Red Star

    Kobe!

  • http://SportsCipher.com Jaamal Braithwaite

    Why isn’t stories like this being published in mainstream media? The players aren’t just greedy millionaires. But the owners jusyt might be greedy billionaires.They are the ones that fired these employees. Did they give them a severance package to show them they were important to the organization? Nope, stories like this makes me side more with the players in the labor disputes.

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