Lakers’ Bynum enters the ring as lockout puts NBA against the ropes

It appears that Los Angeles Lakers' center Andrew Bynum(notes) is going above and beyond during the NBA lockout in hopes of being ready whenever the 2011-2012 season begins.

With the help of famed trainer Freddie Roach, Bynum has taken his talents to the boxing ring in order to stay in shape and keep his options open in case the NBA lockout endures longer than expected. Although I see a future in boxing as a bit farfetched for Bynum, it will be a great way for him to stay in top shape while proving his dedication to being the best player he can be for the Lakers.

Throughout his six years with the Lakers, Bynum has displayed a lack of work ethic and drive from time to time. Whether it's on the court or off, he hasn't always shown the ability to work as hard as a top-tier athlete should. Now that he'll be learning from Roach, who has trained some of the biggest names in professional boxing from Oscar De La Hoya to Manny Pacquiao, Bynum is one step closer to attaining the maturity and dedication that you'd expect from an NBA player of his talents.

Although he calls his training "a new career" in his tweet, I doubt Bynum will take that route even if the lockout engulfs the entire 2011-2012 NBA season. Still, it will be exciting to see what, if anything, comes from his training with Roach. It appears he is working hard day in and day out, which could make a lasting impression that carries over to the hardwood.

A couple of other athletes, including the NFL's Ray Edwards of the Minnesota Vikings, have taken to the boxing ring in hopes of staying in shape as lockouts continue to plague the world of professional sports. It's a tremendous way to stay fit as well as honing many of the different physical and mental aspects of being a professional athlete. We have yet to see whether or not any actual boxing will come of this training, but it has me optimistic that Bynum will be ready for the new NBA season whenever the lockout is lifted.

It's always a concern when Bynum is doing something physically strenuous considering his cluttered history of injuries. However, Roach is a tremendous trainer who will know how to tailor workouts to Bynum's exact needs. This work in the ring may even be what he needs to help ease some of his health problems.

There's still time for this venture to take an unexpected turn, but I believe that this will only help Bynum become a better basketball player and hard worker for the Lakers. It may just be wishful thinking, but this may even be the turning point in his NBA career that elevates him to the level we all know he's capable of playing at. Plus, who in the NBA wants to go up against a seven foot giant whose skills have been refined under the tutelage of one of the greatest boxing trainers of all time?

Gil Alcaraz IV is a Los Angeles native who was born into a family of diehard Laker fans. He has bled purple and gold throughout his entire life, sticking with the Lakers through thick and thin. For more Lakers coverage, follow him on Twitter @GilAlcarazIV.

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Updated Thursday, Jul 7, 2011