Who washes the jerseys after the NBA players play?…
There are such a group of ordinary people in the NBA, although they do not have the talent to become NBA players, nor the ability to control the overall situation of the team’s general manager, but with the love of basketball, they put the seemingly monotonous and mundane work to the extreme, becoming a typical representative of the NBA’s high professionalism. They are Equipment Manager – equipment manager.
What does an equipment manager do?
In fact, not only NBA teams have equipment managers (Equipment Manager), the four major professional leagues and college sports teams in North America are all missing this position, their responsibilities are basically the same, that is, is responsible for the management and maintenance of all the team’s game-related equipment, including players’ jerseys, shoes, socks, protective gear, towels, as well as the coaching staff and trainers’ necessary equipment. The equipment manager is the team’s steward.
No matter home or away, whether it’s a game or a training session, the equipment manager has to prepare in advance and do the aftercare. For example, before a game starts, the equipment manager needs to bring clean jerseys and shoes for the players, prepare special drinks and anything else that may be used; after the game, the equipment manager has to count all the equipment and wash and dry the jerseys, towels and pads that need to be washed.
The work does not sound complicated, but it is not easy to serve 15 professional players worth millions of dollars. Each NBA team has a very large warehouse in the gym where they store all the players’ equipment. The equipment manager must have a good understanding of the amount of equipment, where it is stored, how it is used and what the players like.
Shoes are a big issue for players’ foot health, and the equipment manager will have at least 12 pairs of shoes for each player, six light-colored home shoes and six dark-colored away shoes. Some players have their own sneaker sponsorship, and some players are unapologetic Sneakerheads who sometimes bring their own shoes and sometimes ask the equipment manager to prepare the shoes they want to wear in advance, so the equipment manager will need to prepare more shoes for these players.
Each team has several sets of NBA jerseys, and in addition to home and away games, there are special jerseys for the team to wear on special days. Some teams’ equipment managers are responsible for arranging the special jersey wearing schedule.
During the game, some players like to change shoes when the wind is not good, so the equipment manager needs to prepare more pairs of shoes for such players. In the heat of the game, players’ jerseys may get bloodied or torn, which requires the equipment manager to prepare several replacement jerseys. The new NBA Nike jerseys have been torn several times this season during games, but the players have always been able to get back on the court with a good jersey right away, thanks to the equipment manager.
Away games are a bit trickier because the equipment manager is responsible for packing the entire team’s gear — which means dozens and hundreds of bags, getting them safely from the practice facility to the airport, and then bringing them from the airport into the away arena, piece by piece. The Toronto Raptors have taken the burden off their equipment manager by renting a private storage room at Toronto Pearson International Airport to store the team’s equipment, making the trip from team headquarters to the airport much easier for the equipment manager.
While the players go home or back to their hotels after taking a shower and being interviewed after the game, the equipment manager is still early from work. Players’ jerseys, socks and shoes have to be washed, and it’s a good thing each team is equipped with a commercial super-powered washer and dryer. If you are going to an away game, the equipment manager has to send a text message to the opposing team’s equipment manager in advance to borrow the visiting team’s washing machine so that the other team can make arrangements. The equipment managers of each team often need to communicate and cooperate, they set up their own association organization NBAEMA (NBA Equipment Manager Association, NBA Equipment Manager Alliance), in order to exchange information and help each other.
In addition, equipment managers are also responsible for communicating and coordinating with league sponsors, players’ personal sponsors, contacting away hotels and training venues, they are not just simple logistics staff. Some players even ask the equipment managers to help them buy snacks, buy daily necessities, pick up and drop off their children and other extra chores, but this is also because the equipment managers and players are very familiar with the relationship, and these jobs will not be for nothing, players will not only give the equipment managers some money from time to time, and sometimes will give their own jerseys and shoes.