Radmanovic admits he lied

Times Staff Writer

Vladimir Radmanovic made a painful admission Friday: He had lied about his shoulder injury.

Six days after dislocating his right shoulder in Park City, Utah, during the All-Star break, and three days after telling the Lakers he'd hurt himself slipping on a patch of ice, Radmanovic admitted he got hurt while snowboarding, an activity specifically prohibited in his contract.

"I wasn't thinking too much," Radmanovic said of his initial explanation. "After a couple of days, when things settled down, I realized I did the wrong thing.

"I did a stupid thing snowboarding. I don't want to be a liar. That's not something that I am. Obviously I lied, but there was a way to correct it.... I decided to ... bring out the truth. And I'm really glad I did.

"When you lie to the whole world, and then come out four or five days later and say, 'That's not true,' it's embarrassing. I hope people will have some understanding and some forgiveness."

Radmanovic initially admitted the true cause of his injury to Lakers Coach Phil Jackson on Friday morning. The two then went to see General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

Neither man was surprised that Radmanovic had done more than slip on a street.

"When a person goes to a ski resort," Kupchak said, "and gets an injury associated with winter sports, your antenna goes up."

Speaking to the media earlier this week, Jackson had joked about hiring a detective to investigate Radmanovic's claim.

"The truth will out. He knew that and he came forward," Jackson said Friday.

"After a couple of days," Radmanovic said, "I figured out the best thing to do was to come out with the truth, no matter what the consequences and penalties were going to be.

"I just couldn't keep it to myself anymore.... I felt really bad about letting my teammates down, letting the whole organization down, not letting them know what really happened."

Said teammate Ronny Turiaf, "Everybody makes mistakes. He probably had friends telling him how much fun he was going to have [snowboarding]. I am disappointed he is not going to be out on the court for us. We will miss him."

Radmanovic, 26, in his sixth pro season, told reporters Friday that he had never snowboarded before.

"Unfortunately before I stepped on that board, I wasn't really thinking," he said. "Things happen, but you never really think it's going to happen to you."

The accident occurred at mid-day Saturday.

"Coming down a slope," he said, "I just flipped forward and fell on my shoulder."

Radmanovic went to a doctor near Park City who took X-rays and informed the 6-foot-10, 235-pound forward from Serbia of the nature of his injury -- one that can take eight weeks to heal.

"I was really scared," Radmanovic said. "I panicked as to what the reaction was going to be."

Looking back, Radmanovic says he shudders at the thought of what might have been.

"This could have been something that finished my career," he said. "Fortunately, it didn't. It will be a good lesson for me."

How costly a lesson?

Kupchak and Jackson said they would sit down and discuss possible penalties for Radmanovic. They could void his contract, a highly unlikely outcome, according to a league source. They could suspend him, although he is already out six to eight weeks. Or they could simply fine him.

It's not a "criminal offense," said Kupchak, who added that Radmanovic's decision to publicly admit he had lied "is itself a punishment."

Radmanovic has been a disappointment with the Lakers, averaging only 6.9 points and 3.4 rebounds a game in the first season of a five-year, $30.2-million contract.


Times staff writer Mike Bresnahan contributed to this report.


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