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All day Thursday, you heard about how the NBA lockout will affect millionaire players and billionaire owners. But the real casualties of the lockout are far less wealthy and well-known.
|Ronnie Lester won a title as a player and has been part of seven more in the Lakers' front office.|
"I didn't recognize him. He had lost 30 pounds," Lester said. "That in and of itself, that kid losing 30 pounds in two months, that was pretty impressive right there. You knew the kid would work if he wanted something bad enough. "After the workout, I called Mitch and told him 'If he's there at 10, I don't know how you can pass the guy up.'" A few months later, Lester arranged for Bynum to work out privately in Chicago for Jim Buss, the team's executive vice president of player personnel. "He liked the kid, as we all did," Lester recalled. "When you're going to draft a high school kid, I think you have to get ownership behind you. Jimmy saw the kid and he liked him." A few days before this year's draft, Lester met with Jim Buss again. He asked one last time whether it was too late to change the course the team had decided to take. It was. "Look, bad things happen all the time," Lester said. "It's how you react that matters. That's how I have to look at it. I'm trying to see it as an opportunity." But right now there is only loss. The Lakers' loss.