EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- NBA players are notorious for spending their money on all sorts of lavish delights from sports cars to jewelry to clothing, but a couple of members of the Los Angeles Lakers took it to a whole other level by buying a bovine. That's right, Chris Kaman, Robert Sacre and Lakers strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco bought a cow.
This isn't like Billy Crystal's pet cow Norman in "City Slickers." The three of them are going in together on a full cow's worth of beef after it's been to the butcher, or approximately 400 pounds of cuts of meat for their freezers.
DiFrancesco, who has picked up the nickname "Grass-Fed Tim" around the team because of his belief in the health benefits of eating grass-fed beef, came up with the idea after connecting with a farm that raises grass-fed cows down in San Diego.
Kaman is getting half, 200 pounds, while Sacre and DiFrancesco are getting a quarter, 100 pounds, each.
It was originally supposed to be a four-way split, but longtime Lakers trainer Gary Vitti backed out.
"Gary Vitti ran out of freezer space, so I think he’s out," Kaman said. "So, I got to pick up the slack. I’m happy to, though."
Freezer space was an issue for Sacre, too, so he did something about it.
"I had to go to a Best Buy to go buy me a 15 cubic foot freezer," said Sacre, who estimated that the freezer and the beef will end up costing him about $1,300 combined. "It’s, uh, it’s intense."
The trio of beef eaters scheduled the meat delivery to arrive after they return from the Lakers' upcoming eight-day-long trip to China to play two preseason games.
While the purchase sounds a little like a silly extravagance, Sacre and Kaman said the improvements they've had with their bodies at DiFrancesco's guidance have been serious.
"I dropped from six [percent body fat] to three," said Sacre, who was a second-round pick with a nonguaranteed contract just trying to make the team when he started working with DiFrancesco. "I really find myself having more energy and really always feel healthier and haven’t been sick that much."
Kaman said he had gone six years without eating any beef -- the only red meat he would eat was venison from the deer he hunts -- before joining the Lakers in July and opening his mind and diet to DiFrancesco's suggestions.
"I don’t like all the hormones and steroids," Kaman said of his six-year abstinence from eating beef. "I’m not against how they kill the animals. I’m more against the way that they put the steroids and the hormones in there, and then we’re getting that in our bodies when we eat it."
Sacre and Kaman differ on how to cook the beef, however.
"No doubt, it’s grilling," Sacre said. "When you can just buy a nice big thing of cow and have steaks for days, why not? Right?
"Put some seasoning on that bad boy. I’m a dry-rub man. Dry it up, lay it on the grill. I like mine medium-rare and that’s it. I like some horseradish, though. Put it on the side, dip it and you’re good to go."
Kaman will prepare his in the kitchen, with the help of his wife and personal chef.
"No grill," Kaman said. "When you do it on the grill, sometimes you can get carcinogens. Those black things you see on the steak are pretty much bad for you.
"Just in the pan. Very rare. Closer to rare than anything else, because then you’re getting a lot of the nutrients and the proteins and the fats that you want. When you cook it for a long time, you lose a lot of that."
Sacre and Kaman don't want to lose any of the parts the cow has to offer. See, there's a difference when you buy the whole cow versus just buying hundreds of pounds of steak. Sacre is looking forward to the cow tongue. Kaman wants some of the skeleton.
"I’m going to get a bunch of the bones, too, and boil them down and make some beef stock," Kaman said. "It’s good for your joints and ligaments and tendons."
Apparently, cow, much like milk, does a body good.