There’s one thing that won’t change when the Los Angeles Lakers move into their new 120,000 square-foot home next summer at the UCLA Health Training Center. And that, is the calculated placement of their most prized possessions – the 16 shiny pieces of championship hardware displayed in the horizontal window that overlooks their practice facility.
“Trophies will continue to be housed in the office of the president that will overlook the practice court,” Lakers president Jeanie Buss proudly smiled. “So that the players will always be reminded of what the goal is and to be inspired by the work that they have to put in to get that trophy.”
Other than that, not much, if anything, will stay the same.
“The new building is three times the size of the one we’re in now,” head coach Luke Walton said at the UCLA Health partnership unveiling. “It’s got state-of-the-art everything – from a film room to a training center to a weight room. No more single person metal ice tubs. We are now going to have a 15-person ice tub, an underwater treadmill. Everything is going to be brand new and fantastic.”
Walton was far from over exaggerating. The 80,000 square foot first floor will have two basketball courts with on-court smart board video displays for strategic planning and playbacks. The state-of-the-art weight and conditioning room will open to the court, and the video theater/screening room will be directly adjacent to the spacious player lounge.
The indoor-outdoor lounge will be fully outfitted for video, sound and pretty much any digital connection you can think of. But, if the lounge is too loud for the players, not to worry. There will be a player quiet room to be outfitted with blue light spectrum lighting, likely even massage chairs. Of course, the fully equipped kitchen will be directed by a nutritionist.
Players will no longer be getting trimmed up in the media room (as they have at Toyota Sports Center). Instead, there will be a barbershop. The training room will have multiple whirlpools, two plunge pools, a resistance pool and cryogenics chamber. The new facility will also be home to the Los Angeles D-Fenders, their development league team, which will even have an entirely separate training area.
Out of all the new amenities, Walton is still most excited about the improved ice baths. Seriously.
“No more single person metal ice tubs. We are now going to have a 15-person ice tub!” Walton said before recalling the days where the younger players would have to wait up to an hour to use one of the three single person ice tubs at the current facility.
“All of this is with an eye toward prolonging the careers of these great athletes,” said Lakers Senior VP of business operations and COO Tim Harris.
“In order to keep the Lakers as part of the evolution of the NBA and moving forward,” said Buss. “I think that what this shows is the commitment of the organization, the Buss family, in continuing to keep the Lakers on the cutting edge in all things in terms of basketball and business.”
But, what it also allows is for the Lakers to keep their past in the past and move forward with the future.
“Moving into a new facility is going to allow them to create their own identity,” Buss said. I’ve said to Brandon Ingram, please don’t worry about all the pictures on the wall and the history of the Lakers. You be you, people are excited to see what you are and what you bring. Don’t feel like you have to replicate anybody that has been here before. And, certainly moving into this new facility will allow them to do that, to take on their own identity.”