Lakers’ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Is Doing Jail Time And Playing Games In Between

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Some NBA players have described basketball as an escape from the reality of real life. For Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, it’s an escape from jail.

On December 13, the 24-year-old pled guilty to violating his parole on March 29, two days before his last regular season game as a member of the Detroit Pistons, when he’d been stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence. His sentence: 25 days in jail. He’s serving at the Seal Beach Police Department Detention Center, under a program that allows him to leave for work.

Pope, who this offseason signed a one-year, $18 million contract, picked the right state to play in with such a punishment. He’s not allowed to leave the state for work, but the team has only four road games outside California for the duration of his sentence (the first being last week in Cleveland), so the punishment shouldn’t prevent him from missing any more than that.

“It has been very disappointing to me as well, as far as my teammates, I feel like I let them down as well, my coaches, the organization,” Caldwell-Pope said on Saturday after practice, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I just have to deal with this legal situation that came with it.”

The team released a statement on the issue: “This is a legal matter, stemming from an incident that occurred last season while Kentavious was a member of another NBA team. The Los Angeles Lakers are abiding by the terms of a program for Kentavious that were established for him by a court in the state of Michigan. As such, we will have no further comment at this time.”

Fear not for Caldwell-Pope’s safety in jail: Seal Beach is a pay-to-stay detention center that advertises itself as a more comfortable option for wealthy offenders. It costs $100 a night to stay there, $120 a night for those in a work-release program, and features flat-screen TVs, a computer and media room, and cleanliness not found at tradition detention centers.

“This is like paradise,” one resident told the LA Times earlier this year.

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