The Los Angeles Lakers announced today the hiring of Marco Nuñez as the team’s new Athletic Trainer, replacing long-time Athletic Trainer Gary Vitti, who recently retired after 32 seasons with the organization. The team also promoted Nina Hsieh to Assistant Athletic Trainer and renewed the contract of Strength and Conditioning Coach Tim DiFrancesco.
Nuñez, who originally joined the Lakers as Assistant Athletic Trainer during the 2008-09 season, will expand his responsibilities working hand-in-hand with the training staff, coaching staff, and front office to ensure the highest level of on-court performance. In his new position, the Los Angeles native is charged with year-round oversight of the care, prevention, and treatment of injuries to the players on the roster, and is also chiefly responsible for player rehabilitation programs and emergency on-court procedures.
Prior to joining the Lakers, Nuñez spent two seasons as Athletic Trainer for the Lakers’ NBA D-League affiliate, the Los Angeles D-Fenders, beginning with their inaugural season in 2006-07. While working in the D-League, Nuñez served simultaneously as Athletic Trainer for the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, and was solely affiliated with the Sparks for the 2005-06 season. An Assistant Trainer for the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League from 1999-2003, he also spent one season as Head Athletic Trainer for the Carolina Cobras of the AFL in 2004 prior to joining the Sparks.
In the summer and fall of that same year, Nuñez worked as a trainer for the movie “The Longest Yard,” attending to the actors, stuntmen, and athletes on set. In addition to winning NBA championships in his first two seasons with the Lakers (2009 and 2010), Nunez also served as the Assistant Athletic Trainer for the 2011 NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles. He graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a B.S. in Kinesiology and emphasis in Sports Medicine, and went on to receive his M.S. in Biomechanics from A.T. Still University. In addition, he is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and holds Corrective Exercise Specialist and Performance Enhancement Specialist certifications from the NASM.
Hsieh transitions to the Lakers training staff after serving as Head Athletic Trainer for the Los Angeles D-Fenders, the Lakers’ NBA D-League affiliate, beginning with the 2008-09 season, highlighted by D-League Finals appearances in 2012 and 2016. In her role with the D-Fenders, Hsieh oversaw all aspects of player health, including strength and conditioning, in addition to handling the team’s equipment and assisting with team travel. The Huntington Beach native is no stranger to NBA training rooms, as she joined the Lakers for both Summer League in Las Vegas and training camp each of the last four seasons.