Current assistant coach Kurt Rambis has quite the history with the Los Angeles Lakers. Along with being the head coach at one point in time, Rambis played a fairly big role in the Showtime era playing alongside Magic Johnson, James Worthy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Rambis won four NBA titles during his playing days with the Lakers and went from being a benchwarmer to a starter on an extremely talented team built to contend every single year.
Interestingly enough, Rambis didn’t take advantage of the perks offered by Dr. Jerry Buss. The late owner loved taking care of his players with all sorts of luxurious perks at their disposal as best-selling author, Jeff Pearlman, explains his new book, Showtime:
During the early years of Showtime, when glory came easy and life was but a dream, a majority of the Lakers lived in a beige three-story Fox Hills apartment building on Green Valley Circle owned by Jerry Buss. The setup was perfect. Because he valued his players, Buss offered—for the discounted monthly price of $550—luxurious one-bedroom units complete with modernized kitchens, full baths, spectacular views of the city and a quick commute to the Forum.
Pearlman admits Rambis was one of the interesting players he researched from the Showtime era and explains the reasons why Rambis was reluctant to enjoy the perks offered by Dr. Buss.
Apparently, Rambis was content with not having a vehicle and sleeping in the living room of a friend’s house, who was married with two children:
As his teammates lived The Life, Kurt Rambis — rookie forward and all-world ragamuffin — lived, uh, life. Or, to be more precise, when he was done at the Forum after a long night of work (aka: sitting on the end of the bench, pining for a couple of minutes of garbage time), Rambis would drive off in neither Mercedes nor Bentley, BMW nor Jaguar. Hell, not even a ’65 Opel Kadett. “Kurt didn’t own a car—I took him everywhere,” said Rich Brown. “He’d call if he needed a lift. Sometimes I’d loan him my car [a white Toyota Corolla]. Not often, but sometimes. And he slept on a mattress on the floor in my dining room.”
Brown, Rambis’s close friend and classmate from Santa Clara University, was not kidding. This wasn’t a joke, a gag, a prank, an effort to embarrass an old chum. No, in 1982 Kurt Rambis of the Los Angeles Lakers made his everyday home in Huntington Beach, on an old mattress plopped down upon the wood floor inside the suburban dining room belonging to Rich and Carlee Brown (and their two children).
Regardless of Rambis’s odd living arrangement and inability to get around without the help of Brown, the forward became a Lakers fan favorite and four-time NBA champion.
Rambis has left his mark on the Lakers franchise and continues to be a part of the organization today as one of Mike D’Antoni’s assistant coaches.
In nine seasons with the Lakers, Rambis averaged 4.9 points and 5.5 rebounds in 17.7 minutes per game.
The quotes above are excerpts from Jeff Pearlman’s new book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s
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