The Los Angeles Lakers honored retiring head athletic trainer Gary Vitti, MS, ATC, during the first quarter of the Lakers’ April 3 home game against the Boston Celtics. Vitti, who will retire from his full-time role this summer, has been with the Lakers for 32 seasons and is the longest-tenured trainer in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He’ll continue part time as a Lakers consultant for two more years.
During a video tribute Vitti was presented with a framed Lakers jersey and two first-class tickets to Italy, where he has a vacation home.
Vitti began his career as an assistant trainer with the Utah Jazz (1981-1982). He then served as head athletic trainer at the University of Portland in Oregon before joining the Lakers prior to the 1984-1985 season. The Lakers have won eight NBA championships since Vitti joined the organization.
The NBA Trainers Association named Vitti its Trainer of the Year in 1991, partially due to his philanthropic work. Additional honors have included Southern Connecticut State University’s 2001 distinguished alumni award and the 2011 “Local Hero Award” presented by the Los Angeles-based Team Heal Foundation, which works to bring injury prevention, medical care, athletic training, and mentoring to high school athletes in underserved communities.