The great Gary Vitti retired in 2016 with Kobe Bryant, after serving as the Lakers’ athletic trainer for 32 years. Marco Nunez took over and Nina Hsieh replaced Nunez during the start of the 2019 season. After the multitude of injuries that caused the Lakers to underperform last season, Hsieh’s contract was not renewed, and there were months of uncertainty as to who would be the next trainer. Since Vitti, the Lakers training staff seem to be a revolving door.
Will Russell Westbrook play in back to backs? How about Anthony Davis and LeBron James? There are a few of the many questions that the next training staff will have to answer.
In Wednesdays’ press release, the Lakers finally announced a new head athletic trainer for the upcoming season. Roger Sancho, formerly with the Golden State Warriors, was named as the new head athletic trainer. Ed Streit was promoted as the head of strength and conditioning.
Per the Lakers press release on the hires,
Sancho most recently spent seven seasons with the Golden State Warriors, including the past five seasons as an assistant athletic trainer. Sancho began his time with the Warriors during the 2014-15 season as the head athletic trainer for the Santa Cruz Warriors. The Sulphur Springs, Texas native earned his bachelor’s degree in athletic training from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2012 and his master’s degree from Baylor in 2014.
Streit was named to his new role after serving as an assistant strength & conditioning coach for the team since the 2019-20 season. Prior to joining Los Angeles, Streit spent the 2018-19 season as the head strength and conditioning coach for Dayton’s men basketball and served in the same role during the 2017-18 season at the University of Connecticut. Streit also spent three-and-a-half years with the Chicago Bulls on their strength and conditioning staff.
Sancho and Streit will have their hands full as the Lakers come into the season with the oldest roster in the NBA. At an average age of 30.7, the Lakers currently stand as the fifth oldest team in NBA history. Ironically, in LeBron James final season with Miami, the average age then ranked as one of the older rosters at 30.3. Hopefully Sancho and Streit can help limit the teams' injuries as much as possible, because health will be the main factor if the Lakers are to win No. 18.