Raul Lopez, powerful protector of the gear
August, 3, 2012
By Dave Telep, ESPN RecruitingNation | ESPN.com
LAS VEGAS -- Over the course of time, there’s been any number of important security jobs. Protecting the President, guarding the Dream Team in Barcelona or keeping Tom Brady upright in the pocket. All of them big jobs, each important.
This summer, Raul Lopez had one of those jobs that lends itself to little recognition but is of paramount importance. Lopez is the product manager for the LeBron James Skills Academy. Over half a million dollars of hot-off-the-line Nike sneakers, T-shirts and equipment was under his control and everyone wanted a piece of it.
Lopez’s primary job was to make sure the campers, counselors and camp coaches were taken care of and their sizes catered to. Those same campers and counselors -- the ones Lopez was tasked with helping -- often times are equal parts thankful recipients disguised as gear hoarders.
Even when enough is enough, the lure of free high-end gear can get the best of man. It’s Lopez who has to say “no” and make sure no foxes infiltrate the Nike product room.
He’s heard all of the excuses, been hit with all the sob stories and listened to every request for more gear. A veteran of the Nike camp circuit, Lopez is the most sought after member of the Nike team once camp begins.
He holds the keys to the gear room -- and for that reason alone, he’s the most powerful man at camp.