Teams go through an average of 600 towels during a typical game, and it is Pimental’s responsibility to make sure they are washed, dried and folded by the next day.
“It’s a one-use system,” he explained of the towels. “A guy comes out of the game, wipes his sweat, it goes straight to the washer. Each bench usually goes through 100 towels per half, 200 per game, and then we have all the shower towels and the dirty uniforms. It’s a huge laundry operation. After a game we have three washing machines going nonstop for a few hours.”
Despite the long hours and hectic travel schedule, Pimental said there’s nothing else he would rather be doing. The pinnacle, he said, was receiving a championship ring last season.
“The pressure’s a little intense at times, working for such a high-profile team, but there is a real family atmosphere here, and they treat you like you are a big part of the team no matter what your job is,” he said.
Pimental dreamed of working for a team from the time he was a preteen going to Kings games with his father.
“I was 14, looking for a cool summer job, and I’d see kids mopping up the sweat at games, and I told my dad, ‘I’m going to do that someday,’ ” He wrote letters to local equipment managers, and at 15 got a job with an arena football team. The next year, at 16, he became a Kings ball boy, and before long, he was promoted to assistant equipment manager.
“I’m the kid who would stay around and help, the kid who never went home,” he said. “I’d just show up for practices even when they didn’t ask me to, so they’d put me to work. When I turned 20, they made me head equipment manager. I still can’t believe it. My friends can’t believe it.
“When I stood there at the ring ceremony and looked around, it really hit me. I’m part of all this, part of the Heat family. I feel so lucky.”