NBA Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers: Remembering How Vital Lamar Odom Once Was


Andrew D. Bernstein-USA Today Sports

When Lamar Odom last suited up for the Los Angeles Lakers he was coming off one of his best seasons of his career. Odom was awarded the Sixth Man of the Year before being involved in a trade that would go on to be vetoed by former NBA Commissioner David Stern. Odom was absolutely stunned that the team, after all that they have been through, attempted to part ways so easily. Even though the trade was cancelled, he was still extremely upset and believed that the Lakers no longer wanted him there. The following day, Odom formally requested a trade and within hours he was sent to the Dallas Mavericks. This is where the train came off the tracks.

While part of the Mavericks, Odom was a totally different player. He averaged career lows in almost every single statistical category. He was visibly out of shape and unhappy. Owner Mark Cuban eventually had enough and the two sides agreed that it would be in their best interest to part ways for the remainder of the season. After the season concluded, Odom was shipped to the Los Angeles Clippers in hopes of reviving his career. Again he put up unusually low numbers. Odom has been absent ever since.

He has however, made headlines constantly for supposed drug problems and his recent divorce. At this point enough is enough. This guy has been put through so much. The media has to learn when to stay out of somebody’s life because it tends to overshadow all that they have done that was positive.

Odom was drafted fourth overall in the 1999 draft by the Clippers. He made an immediate impact and was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. After four successful years with the Clippers, Odom signed with the Miami Heat in the offseason. Only one season passed before he was shipped to the Lakers in the deal that returned Shaquille O’Neal.

Odom was once a highly respected and valued player on the Lakers. He and former teammates, such as Kobe Bryant and Metta World Peace, were practically family. During his seven year tenure with the team, Odom was a main contributor and reason to why Los Angeles won back-to-back championships.

Everything that the common player overlooks, Odom put extra emphasis on. He would rack up the assists, grab tons of rebounds, play extra minutes and score some points when needed. The point is that he would fill the box score, something that isn’t particularly characteristic of a near 7-footer.  Without Odom, the Lakers would have had a much tougher road especially since he had to fill in for Andrew Bynum who was constantly injured. Although he is no longer part of the team, he will always be part of Laker Nation.

Bottom line is, everybody has to stop intruding into his life. Who knows, if everybody leaves him alone for a while, he may make an NBA return. There are certainly a few teams that can use his leadership and experience. Whatever happens, I wish him the best.