Los Angeles Laker employee Carlos Maples has seen a lot in his 21 seasons with the team. Starting as a ball boy at the age of 13, Maples graduated to assistant equipment manager eleven years ago. And while he does deal with towels, don't you dare call him the towel boy.
CM: We go through at least 250 towels a game. We use a brand new towel for every player for every timeout. So if a towel touches a player's hand, that's it, it's done.
CM: I have this thing with rookies, I feel it's my job to school them since I've been here so long: my locker room, my rules. Anything that needs to be done really quick, if my guys are busy, you ask a rookie to do it. Rookies, as Coach Phil likes to call them, are 'lower than pond scum.'
CM: It was about $300, from Horace Grant. Magic used to take care of me all the time. Kobe's very generous as well. They're very generous with giving us tickets. We used to get tickets all the time, but the times have changed. Dr. Buss was very generous with tickets for about eighteen years. But the last few years he hasn't been able to give us any.
CM: Some guys just don't know. Over the years, times have changed. A lot of these guys have been pampered the whole way up. When I started, guys used to carry their own stuff. Nowadays, they don't carry anything. They can barely carry a basketball to the floor.
GRAB THOSE DIGITS!:
CM: Over the years, some visiting players wanted my guys to go into the stands for a number or two. Our players are used to seeing beautiful women, so we don't get requests like that from them. Plus, most of them have girlfriends who are watching their every move from the stands.
CM: The funniest guy this season is Ronny Turiaf. He just brings life to the room. When we wore the short shorts in Boston, he came in and looked at the shorts and pulled them up to his waist and said, 'Are you serious?' Then he proceeded to pull them way up, like a nerd would. I was crying. But Shaq is by far the biggest jokester in the history of the Lakers. He's wrestled with the ball boys, and he threw me in a laundry basket for talking back.
THE BIG OOPS:
CM: One day I was really ill. I had food poisoning. And I came in in the morning, and tried to get the locker room all set up. That night, I'm at home sick, and, on the air, Stu Lantz says: 'We'd like to wish Carlos a get well soon. And, by the way, Carlos, Shaq doesn't have two left feet.' I had left him two left shoes by mistake.
CM: I just gotta make sure the guys have everything they need. And, I always tell everybody, we're partially like a shrink, because you have to be there when times are good and when times are bad. You are pretty much part of the team, whether or not people like to think of us like that or not.