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Old 07-21-2011, 08:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Raps hire Lakers training guru

Alex McKechnie, who rebuilt Shaquille O'Neal's body once upon a time and in this era did specialized pregame training for most Lakers including Pau Gasol, has decided to take his innovation in analyzing core strength to the Toronto Raptors.

McKechnie will certainly be missed. He has privately trained many of the sports world's biggest names in his free time, but his seasonal job was working with Kobe Bryant (and even Phil Jackson, doing what he could with the old coach's brittle body) and just about every Laker over the past decade.

That is not to say, however, that the Lakers deserve to be criticized for making what are rather logical business decisions.

It's commonplace for fans to view their teams as community properties instead of business entities, but the lockout is a reminder that this is and always will be a business. The Lakers are Jerry Buss' great source of pride in winning championships.

During the last NBA lockout in 1998, coincidentally, McKechnie (not yet officially hired by the Lakers) was training O'Neal on a personal basis and building up his weak, still-painful abdominal muscles and indirectly paving the way for three Lakers championships to come. One of the first things Gasol did upon being traded to the Lakers in 2008 was listen to McKechnie and magically strengthen a sore back that had kept him out of his final games with Memphis. Two more titles followed.

Besides, McKechnie was part of the Lakers' personality, even if he was never on the floor. Known as "The Silver Fox" for his whitish hair, McKechnie charmed with his Scottish accent and social-butterfly personality when he wasn't pushing the players to be stronger. Like others whose contracts weren't renewed director of athletic performance and player development Chip Schaefer and equipment manager Rudy Garciduenas jump to mind McKechnie was a good guy and great at his job.

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