Along with his name change, Artest also said he plans to switch his jersey number to 70 next season.
“You can call me Ron today and then it’s over. It’s a wrap,” Artest said. “It’s about love, world peace. Everybody can relate to that, whether it’s in the same community or the same state or the same country or whether it’s a country going to war.
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.
[…]Last spring the Lakers’ playoff pool was $604,000.
Bryant and Derek Fisher, Lakers’ captains last season, voted to give some of the playoff money to Bodaken and O’Keefe.
Lakers reserve forward Luke Walton took an extra step after the season by providing individual financial gifts to members of the training staff.
“They’re a huge part of our team,” said Walton, who did not specify how much he gave. “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.”
Reporter:It was surprising to hear you’re not just boxing and working out but enrolled in Spanish and piano classes this summer too. Are you making up for what you were deprived of by missing college?
Andrew Bynum:My brother’s wife is Colombian, so now we have mixed cultures in my family. Plus, I live in L.A., I want to communicate with people. The piano, I started to play when I was a little kid, and now I have a really good teacher at UCLA. I play by reading chords in a composition style. I take two-hour lessons three times a week. It’s something that makes me happy. It’s calming, it changes my mood. It’ll be good; down the road I can play my girlfriend’s song when she becomes my wife.