Los Angeles Lakers employee Carlos Maples has seen a lot in his 22 seasons with the team. Maples started out as a Laker ball boy at the age of 13, and graduated to assistant equipment manager twelve years ago.Towel Fact:
CM: We go through at least 250 towels a game. We use a brand new towel for every player for every timeout. So if a towel touches a player’s hand, that’s it, it’s done. We don’t recycle towels here.
CM: On games days, I go back to my old neighborhood, Ladera Heights. I get a haircut, shoot the breeze with the guys at the barber shop, ya know, barbershop talk. I love getting my hair cut on game days. It’s just my thing. It’s been my thing forever. And I love taking my one special route when I get back get to the Staples Center, I’m superstitious like that.
CM: I have this thing with rookies, I feel it’s my job to school them. Since I’ve been here so long. So, for a rookie, they need to key to my rules. This is my locker room, my rules…No. 1, rookies need to bring out towels for everybody at halftime. Anything that needs to be done really quick. Like ‘Hey, get a bottle of water.’ If my guys are busy, you ask a rookie to do it. Rookies, as Coach Phil likes to call them, are ‘lower than pond scum.’
CM: It was about $300. From Horace Grant. We used to have some pretty generous guys back here in the day. Magic Johnson used to take care of me all the time. Kobe’s very generous as well. It’s not always financial. They’re very generous with giving us tickets. We used to get tickets all the time, but the times have changed. Dr. Jerry Buss was very generous with tickets for about eighteen years. But the last few years he hasn’t been able to give us any. So it’s kind of nice when the guys take care of us.
Fave Five (maybe eight):
CM: I’ve been blessed here with an organization that just really gets good guys. Anthony Peeler was a really good guy. Doug Christie, Nick Van Exel, Eddie Jones, Luke Walton’s a good friend. Brian Cook was a good friend. Horace Grant was really great. Robert Horry, the list goes on and on.
CM: Oh wow…Some guys just don’t know. Over the years, times have changed. A lot of these guys have been pampered the whole way up, versus, back in the day. When I started, guys used to carry their own stuff. Nowadays, they don’t carry anything. They just get off the plane, get off the bus, they don’t carry anything. They can barely carry a basketball to the floor.
CM: Over the years, some visiting players wanted my guys to go into the stands for a number or two. Our players are used to seeing beautiful women, so we don’t get requests like that from them. Plus, most of them have girlfriends who are watching their every move from the stands.
CM: Last season it was Ronny Turiaf. He just brought life to the room. When we wore the short shorts in Boston, he came in and looked at the shorts and pulled them up to his waist and said, ‘Are you serious?’ Then he proceeded to pull them way up, like a nerd would. I was crying, it was the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time. But Shaq was by far the biggest jokester in the history of the Lakers. He’s wrestled with the ball boys. And he threw me in a laundry basket for talking back.
The Big Oops:
CM: One day I was really ill. I had food poisoning. And I came in in the morning, and tried to get the locker room all set up. That night, I’m at home sick, and, on the air, Stu Lantz says: ‘We’d like to wish Carlos a get well soon. And, by the way, Carlos, Shaq doesn’t have two left feet.’ I had left him two left shoes by mistake.
Road to the Championship:
CM: I just gotta make sure the guys have everything they need. And, I always tell everybody, we’re partially like a shrink, because you have to be there when times are good, and when times are bad. You are pretty much part of the team, whether or not people like to think of us like that or not.
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