Lamar Odom has found his place. He has found his rhythm, his touch, and is showing how big his heart really is. Sure, he has shown moments of greatness. He has shown us what he is capable of, (2007 Playoffs). But now, Lakers fans, it appears that finally, Lamar Joseph Odom has arrived.
A boy out of South Side Jamaica Queens, in New York (no not 50 Cent), Lamar seemed destined for greatness. His 6’10” frame brought scouts in droves, as he was the number #1 High School Prospect in the country.
However, things have not always gone according to plan as his life has taken many tough detours that could never have been predicted. His mother died of colon cancer when Lamar was 12 years old, so his Grandma took over and raised a young Lamar. Lamar used the things he was taught, and instead of getting lost in the gang which filled New York suburbs, he used basketball to get him out of the ghetto.
When Lamar Odom was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers, the bar was raised for Lamar to deliver and lead the Clippers back to the playoffs. The pressure mounted on the young man, and that’s when Lamar made some mistakes that might have ended up saving him. He tested positive for what is believed to be marijuana twice in an 8 month stand. Then on June 29th 2003, his Grandma passed away. It’s hard to imagine losing a mother and a Grandma the way Lamar did.
Needing a fresh start in 2003, Lamar jumped ship, and signed with the Miami Heat. In Miami, Lamar’s talent started to glow, as he had a career year, staying healthy for the first time since the 2001 season. Lamar finally felt like he belonged, but right before he could get settled in Miami, he was traded in one of the biggest blockbusters in NBA History. He was heading back to Los Angeles, but this time across the hall to join Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.
With the Lakers, Lamar seemed uncertain of his role. Playing a backseat to Kobe Bryant, is not the easiest thing to do. And after an injury ended the 2005 season early, it was unclear how the Lakers as well as Lamar would shape out.
The next two seasons, as all Lakers fans know, were filled with inconsistency, as Lamar never seemed to be the second option that Kobe needed, forcing Kobe to at times be the first, second, and third option. Everything seemed to be wearing on Lamar, as his name was constantly mentioned in trade rumors for the likes of Carlos Boozer, Ron Artest, Baron Davis, Jermaine O’Neal and Kevin Garnett.
June 29th, 2006, a day that I still remember all too well. I woke up, turned on ESPNEWS, and I could not believe the breaking news that was in the bottom right hand corner of the screen, Lamar Odom’s 6 1/2 month old infant son Jayden died while sleeping in his crib. My thoughts and prayers immediately went for Lamar and his family. Lamar’s life was falling apart, and most Lakers fans, still were more concerned with shipping the man out.
Lamar battled through countless injuries in 2007, and played some of his best ball in the 2007 playoffs against the Suns. Yet still in the off-season, all that was talked about was trading Lamar Odom for Shawn Marion or whoever, Lakers fans had lost their confidence in Lamar Odom.
Lamar’s inconsistent play continued in this season, as he showed promise of greatness, he seemed to be more confident as the third option behind Kobe and Andrew Bynum. Andrew went down, Lamar’s play seemed to drop a little bit, and hit a low after a loss in Detroit, in which he air-balled a chance to win the game. That’s the last time Lamar has played that way.
With the addition of Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom’s play skyrocketed, as he hit the lane harder than ever, and still was able to dominate the glass. Playing at an all-time high with the Lakers, Lamar seemed to finally overcome his many critics.
Then Pau went down, and the thoughts of Lamar returning to his passive form, scared many Lakers fans. However, Lamar has proven the doubters wrong as he has played his best basketball in the past week. His games in Dallas and Utah were amazing, as he proved to Lakers fans, and maybe more importantly to himself, that he belongs on the Lakers, and that he is that good. Lamar has also stepped up his defense, as he is guarding some of the leagues best forwards, and doing a good job, just ask Dirk and Boozer.
With how good Lamar was in Utah and Dallas, he took it to new levels over the weekend in back to back games with the Warriors. With 19 pts, 22 rebounds, and 4 blocks on Sunday, in which the Lakers almost over came a 26 point deficit. Then on Monday, on the second day of a back to back no less, Lamar had 23 point, 21 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 blocks in an overtime in the tenacious Oracle Arena.
Lamar is playing the best ball of his career. He has matured not only as a basketball player, but more importantly, as a human being. Lamar has overcome so much adversity in his life, and has seemingly grown up right before our eyes. He is a role model to me, as he has handled everything with such dignity and class. Lamar is certainly as a basketball player and as a human, a man amongst boys. source