Lakers’ director of player development Rondre Jackson no longer with team

The Lakers director of player development Rondre Jackson is no longer part of the team, which a Lakers spokesperson said is “part of the reorganization of the basketball operations department.” The Lakers made those changes shortly after the conclusion of the 2016-17 season. The Lakers also parted ways with Tania Jolly, who was a coordinator of basketball operations.

Jackson’s departure represents the latest wave of changes since Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka took over the front office in February. Since their hiring, Johnson and Pelinka said they would evaluate everyone working with the Lakers’ franchise.

Lakers assistant general manager Glenn Carraro had resigned from his position in early April after working with previous general manager Mitch Kupchak since 2000. Lakers strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco resigned on Tuesday. And the Lakers assistant strength and conditioning coach Sean Light is no longer with the team, which a Lakers spokesperson also attributed to a “part of the reorganization of basketball operations.”

As for Jackson, he had spent the past 10 years with the Lakers and completed his second year as the team’s director of player development. He had assisted Kupchak in day-to-day operations focusing on players’ personal growth and providing resources that develop life skills. Jackson also had served on the NBA’s Steering Committee for player development, and won the Dana Davis Award for best player development work in the NBA for the 2015-16 season.

Before his time with the Lakers, Jackson worked with the Los Angeles Sparks of the NBA in various capacities. That included as the team’s coordinator for the coaching staff (2000), the Sparks’ Assistant General Manager (2001, 2002). Jackson also helped with local team try-outs, regional and local scouting, player development, community relations appearances and team operations assistance.

Jackson, who grew up in Oakland, also was an assistant coach for the women’s basketball teams at Cal State Fullerton (1996-97) and Loyola Marymount (1997-2000).

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mmedina@scng.com. Subscribe to the “We Want Tacos” podcast on iTunes.

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Discussing Kobe Bryant On-and-Off the Court with Biographer Roland Lazenby

There may be no more interesting figure in American sports over the last two decades than Kobe Bryant, both for his incredible play on the court and his philosophical nature away from it. Mark Medina of the Southern California News Group talks about the Los Angeles icon with his biographer, author Roland Lazenby.

Lazenby shares his thoughts on Bryant, as well as some interesting anecdotes from his book, “Showboat: The Life of Kobe Bryant.” Lazenby also provides insight on how he sees Kobe’s life after basketball playing out, with audio from Bryant himself.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mmedina@scng.com. Subscribe to the “We Want Tacos” podcast on iTunes.

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Lakers’ strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco resigns from team

Lakers strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco resigned from his position on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Lakers assistant strength and conditioning coach Sean Light is no longer with the team, which a Lakers spokesperson said is “part of the reorganization of basketball operations.”

As for DiFrancesco, he ended a six-season run with the Lakers that began in the 2011-12 campaign. Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka have said they would continuously reevaluate all members of the organization since their hiring in February. Johnson and Pelinka also had told players in their exit meetings that they needed to improve their conditioning and decrease their body-fat percentage. But the Lakers said DiFrancesco’s departure did not stem from any front-office evaluations.

“He resigned to pursue other opportunities,” Lakers spokesperson Alison Bogli said of DiFrancesco. “It was mutually agreed upon. The Lakers thank him for all of his service and wish him the best with his future endeavors.”

DiFrancesco worked closely with players in individual training sessions both during the season and offseason. He also promoted various dietary habits, including eating grass-fed food and consuming milk. DiFrancesco also kept his personal website active with training and dietary tips. DiFrancesco’s resignation also frees up time for he and his wife to attend to their 10-month-old daughter.

Lakers assistant general manager Glenn Carraro also had resigned from his position in early April after working with previous general manager Mitch Kupchak since 2000. ESPN first reported the news surrounding DiFrancesco’s resignation.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mmedina@scng.com. Subscribe to the “We Want Tacos” podcast on iTunes.

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Lakers’ Kobe Bryant explains how injuries helped prepare him for post-retirement career in film

Kobe Bryant has been retired for over a year, leaving behind a legacy as a Los Angeles Laker like no other. Mark Medina of the Southern California News Group caught up with Kobe recently to discuss why he isn’t missing the game as much as he thought he would, his burgeoning career in film, and how he plans to pass on his teachings to the Lakers young core.

Audio is included from Lakers head coach Luke Walton, rookie forward Brandon Ingram, general manager Rob Pelinka, and of course, Bryant himself as you might not have heard him before.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mmedina@scng.com. Subscribe to the “We Want Tacos” podcast on iTunes.

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Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell stars in new Gatorade commercial



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Lakers’ Brandon Ingram partners with DonJoy Performance

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mmedina@scng.com. Subscribe to the “We Want Tacos” podcast on iTunes.

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Lakers’ Brandon Ingram partners with DonJoy Performance

The Lakers’ Brandon Ingram (14) shoots during their game against the Bucks at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Friday, March 17, 2017. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

The bucket list seems endless, as Lakers forward Brandon Ingram strives to improve this offseason by bulking up in muscle, playing in Summer League and working out with Kobe Bryant.

Ingram also added another item on that to-do list. He partnered with DonJoy Performance, which calls itself the “leading creator of innovative sports bracing technology” through products that help with injury prevention, protection, pain and performance.

“Injuries are a part of basketball, no matter what level you’re at,” Ingram said in a statement. “I want to make sure I have a long-standing, successful career, and DonJoy Performance products will play a key role in ensuring that I stay healthy and in the game.’
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Kobe Bryant performs poetry slam on “Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon”

The man cemented his legacy with five NBA championships, 33,643 points and overcoming too many injuries to count. But as Kobe Bryant embarks in his first year of retirement, it appears the Lakers’ star has become an expert at something else.

Storytelling.

He has done that with the launching of his own company, Kobe Inc. He released an animated short, Dear Basketball, that made its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this past weekend in New York City. And has shown in the video above, Bryant appeared on the “Jimmy Fallon Show” on Monday performing a poetry slam about Family Matters’ Steve Urkel.

Did Bryant do that?
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Lakers’ GM Rob Pelinka considers Ivica Zubac “one of the pillars for the future”

Los Angeles Lakers new General Manager Rob Pelinka. El Segundo, CA 3/10/2017. Photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News (SCNG)

As the Lakers strive to extend their season past April for the first time in five years, newly hired general manager Rob Pelinka will listen to all trade proposals. That does not mean he will accept just any deal, though.

Pelinka reiterated on an appearance on 710 ESPN’s “Mason and Ireland” on Monday that he likes the Lakers’ young core that features D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Ivica Zubac. He also offered glowing reviews on Zubac after last year’s No. 32 pick out of Croatia emerged as the team’s starting center to close out the season.

“He’s a very very promising player and had incredibly strong minutes for us, especially in the second half of the year. Really, he is someone we consider to be one of the pillars for the future,” Pelinkla said. “But I think when you’re talking about a 19 or 20-year-old in the league, there’s always that kind of balancing act of not overexposing a player and doing too much that you have negative returns on it. With young players, that’s what we’ll have always have to be mindful of.”
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Magic Johnson to be NBA draft lottery representative

Magic Johnson will be the Lakers’ NBA draft representative on May 16. Photo by ED CRISOSTOMO, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER/SCNG

After once guiding the Showtime Lakers with five NBA championships through clutch shots and passes, Magic Johnson will try to help restore the franchise back to contention in another way.

Johnson will serve as the Lakers’ representative on stage for the NBA draft lottery on May 16 in New York City. Meanwhile, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka will be represent the Lakers in the drawing room. Then, the Lakers (26-56) will find out if their season that ended with a missed postseason appearance for the fourth consecutive year in a consolation prize. The Lakers must land a top-three pick, or else they will owe it to Philadelphia as part of the Steve Nash trade with Phoenix five years ago.

The Lakers finished with the NBA’s third-worst record, giving them an 46.9 percent chance of their draft pick to stay within the top three. They also have an 15.6 percent chance at landing the No. 1 selection. Had the Lakers had the second-worst record, they would have had a 55.8 percent chance of keeping the pick and 19.9 percent odds of getting the No. 1 pick.
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Why Kobe Bryant doesn’t miss basketball

Almost from the day he was born, Kobe Bryant became addicted to an round and leather ball.

“I couldn’t put the basketball down,” Bryant recalled in an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “When my parents brought me a brand new basketball, I found myself laying in bed and shooting with it. I was kind of laying there and shooting it. Then I’d fall asleep with it. Then I’d get up in the morning and play again. I just could not stop.”

After cementing a storied 20-year NBA career that spanned five NBA championships and a third-place ranking on the league’s all-time scoring list, Bryant has.

He is more than a year removed from his 60-point game in his career-finale. He has spearheaded his company, Kobe, Inc., which specializes in digital storytelling. He attended the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City this weekend, which hosted the premiere of his short film, “Dear Basketball.”

So with Bryant devoting an animated short explaining his love for that orange ball, does he miss holding it and shooting it?

“No, I don’t,” Bryant said. “It’s crazy because I started playing when I was two. After playing for 20 years in the league, what I have now is everything that I’ve learned from the game, I carry with me to this day. So the game has never truly left me. Physically, yes. But emotionally and the things that are right, all stem from the game. It’s still a part of me.”
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