The Mavericks traded for Odom from the Los Angeles Lakers after winning a championship in the 2011 season. At the time, it appeared Dallas was getting a high caliber player, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, to come in and help make a run to try to defend their championship title. After reporting to practice overweight and out of shape, it was a downhill slide for Odom and the Mavericks. Odom refused to apply himself during games, clearly jogging up and down the court and overall acting very aloof. Finally, Dallas asked Odom to simply walk away from the team and no longer play, despite still being under contract until the end of the season.
Odom has been known to use marijuana throughout his NBA career. In 2001, he was suspended for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policies. In 2009, he appeared in tabloid photographs, again smoking marijuana. Up until recently though, it had not affected his play on the court, which could be explained if he has started using harder drugs.
Clearly, Odom was not the same player due to his drug addiction. Looking back, he had all the signs of a person battling with drugs. He wasn’t focused or interested in the team, despite being initially embraced by the Mavericks and their fan base. He couldn’t get along with the coaching staff or management, at one point even getting into a shouting match with owner Mark Cuban.
It had always been a mystery as to what happened with Odom. Even though it’s tragic to see a player’s career derailed by something as avoidable as drug use, and even though the Mavericks had to endure the embarrassment of Odom’s antics, it is nice to have some answers and get closure on the whole saga.