The Los Angeles Lakers have seen quite the staffing overhaul this summer, with one of the biggest moves being the resignation of former strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco.
The Lakers quickly moved to hire their new director of strength and endurance training, Gunnar Peterson, to fill the void, but fans had yet to hear from DiFrancesco on why he had stepped down.
That changed Friday, when DiFrancesco penned a heartfelt open letter to the Lakers organization and its fans to explain why he had chosen to move away from the organization he had called home for the last six years. It sounds like family was a priority.
“While 6 seasons have brought many changes within this role, the biggest change that I didn’t anticipate was how much I was going to fall in love with my newborn daughter Averie,” DiFrancesco wrote. “Suddenly, those memorable road trips with the team got a little longer and being across the country from family felt a little further.”
With a growing family, it’s understandable that DiFrancesco didn’t love life on the road away from them as much any more. It’s a reality most people (especially players and coaches) around the NBA have to deal with that all of us take for granted, but it can’t be easy for everyone to leave their families for half of the season.
While he may be stepping away, DiFrancesco made it clear he wasn’t doing so out of any lack of appreciation for his time with the Lakers:
There are too many people to thank along the way to do so in this letter but I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Gary Vitti for seeing potential in me. Thank you to Kobe Bryant for demonstrating a rare work ethic, to Steve Nash for bringing an unparalleled level of professionalism to his craft, to Metta World Peace for showing up every day with a hunger to continue learning. Thank you to the young core who work hard every day and carry with them the hope and future of the team. And to the fans. Thank you. Thank you for your support and your undying love of Lakers Nation.
I am excited for the next phase and although I am moving back to New England, I will always cherish my time with the purple and gold.
The Lakers players’ love for the man known affectionately as “Grass-fed Tim” for his love of naturally fed beef was obvious, and while they’re probably sad to see him go, it’s nice to see he seems to harbor no ill-will towards the franchise and is high on the team’s young core moving forward.
Also, never forget he once bought an entire cow to eat over the course of the season with Robert Sacre and Chris Kaman.
Anyone who wants to read the entire letter can do so here. Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.