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

Source: LamarOdom.com

The Cougar is a TLN Staff contributor, you can contact him at TheCougar@theLakersNation.com.

  • kb24fan4life

    great piece, i’m glad to see LO finally doin his thing. We seeing the greatness he started to show at Rhode Island and through his first few stops in the league. Lets just sit back and watch as greatness unfolds for the whole laker organization.

  • DCLAKER

    He’s looking like that LO(The one at R.I. and Miami,SCARY).

  • awesomerob24

    I’ve always believed in him.
    I say keep him forever

  • bhglakers16

    Best piece i’ve read ina while

  • http://thelakernation.com faran

    Yup that’s my boy

  • 1ofMany

    GREAT ARTICLE!!! Finally, Lamar is receiving the credit he deserves!!! Hes been playing All-Star caliber ball for weeks now and he is a major component to this years success. True, he has not always played to the level that many have expected of him but considering some of the hardships hes endured, can you blame him? Keep it up Lamar and you’ll have your 1st ring.

  • iluvronny21

    Hey guys,

    I found this on youtube, check it out! Ronny cracks me up!

  • mihailicious

    This messege goes out to all those people who are band wagon fruit cups. You people called him nothing other then “Lamar O’Dumb”, and said he constantly needed to be traded no more then 2 months ago, hell it might have even been one month ago when there were stipulations saying that Caron Butler was going to get traded for Lamar to come back here again, and everyone was for it. That doesn’t look like such a good idea now? You call yourself Laker fans, I’m willing to bet half of you weren’t even fans till we got Pau Gasol, do every one a favour and jump ship, because no one likes people who jump on the bandwagon.

  • MILO

    [Comment ID #30756 Will Be Quoted Here]

    so what! he was playing like sh!t all were doing is venting our frustration with him im predicting that onece Pau and Bynum comes back he’s going to slack off offensively again…

  • MILO

    LET PEOPLE BE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • xtro

    L.O. has arrived. Time to shine!

  • BEC

    I never really hated on Lamar, but im not one who really liked this guy either. Its good to see him healthy and coming to form, but what he has done in the last few weeks means absolutely nothing. The only games that really matter are in the playoffs and I have yet to see Lamar perform at a high level in pressure situations, even in the regular season, wide open airball in the last seconds of a game come mind this season. And he did start playing well when pau came and less pressure was lifted off of him. You can say he played well in the 2007 playoffs but outside of KB, nobody did anything, so his stats are going to look good under a depleted team. I think we’ll have to wait and see come playoff time, we’ll see what kind of LO we really have, because theres no more excuses this year.
    Im hoping for the best because hes a great talent and has been through more than most of us every will in our entire lives, so itll be good to see some good come his way.

  • DCLAKER

    I was one also that got on Lamar(not as much as calling myself Lamar O’Dumb)and said the only people I would trade him for is S.Marion or C.Butler(and I got a lot of love for those picks as well as critism)and I still feel the same way,that’s not saying that I want him traded,it’s saying if he ‘was’ to get traded(not because of me,FO)then one of those guys or someone with the same value as LO.

    So saying all that,LUKE IT’S YOUR TURN(HE GOIN’ TO GET 10 WORSE THAN LO,TRUST ME).

  • kelvlam

    WOH! I didn’t know Odom’s back story at all! now I have even a deeper appreciation of his game, and his commitment to grow and be better!

    The back-to-back double double is an awesome Laker’s record!

  • SliqRiq

    I for one love LO’s game and I say dont even think of trading this guy.

  • http://www.hard-wood.org/?cat=34 Billy Kupchak

    [Comment ID #30756 Will Be Quoted Here]

    actually, i’ve never said “odumb” until just now, but it was merely to quote what you’ve been accusing. LO has always been on father’s good side, so i know my family has been praising him ever since he joined the Lakers. GO LAMAR ODOM! hopefully, he’ll take a pay cut & stay with the purple & gold a few more years! :-D

  • mihailicious

    [Comment ID #30759 Will Be Quoted Here]

    True but do you think Kobe’s numbers will be the same when they get back too? No cuz he cant score as much with 2 more options out on the court, so don’t hate on LO because he will be in the same situation as everyone else on the starting line up. On top of that his decresed offensive output wont be bad for the team, because it means that Bynum and Gasol will be scoring. It’s time you stop thinking player and start thinking team.

  • http://www.hard-wood.org/?cat=34 Billy Kupchak

    [Comment ID #30774 Will Be Quoted Here]

    good point! :-D

  • pa

    LO is a gifted PF and just a tall SF. About time PJ learned that.

  • Devean George

    God bless LO and his family…

  • kevin

    Sterns awful

  • LEADERFISH

    LO has always been productive. Very few in the league can match his stats of 14/10/3. Anybody know the players that have at least those numbers? Some people think he is just a “decent player” but I would totally disagree. He was never a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th option but a guy who does everything, score, pass, and rebound. Even without Bynum or Gasol he still is productive. I am glad he is getting some credit for his play.

  • Kobe Forever

    LO has gotten better since Pau arrived. Next year he is going to be an all star and the Lakers will win 60 games.

  • west213

    It shows that Lamar was raised greatfully, he has no tattoos and he respects every other player, no fighting, not arguing with refs. I love Lamar, when I grow up I just want to be like him. =]]

  • Majic “Big” Johnson

    Hell when he has started making plays like he has been, I’ve started calling him “Lamar ODAM!!!!

  • MILO

    mihailicious,

    Umm what planet have you been on my friend???I hate to say this because i love Kobe, but quite frankly he has NOT been doing a lot of scoring at least not as much as the last two seasons when he won the scoring title.This year even Kobe bought into the whole team concept that is the reason why he’s been looking to get his teammates involved early in the games.The main reason for that is because his team is actually responding and making shots for a change wich is all due to his team being a major upgrade of what it was in previous seasons.Fish over Smush,Sasha,Vlady Farmar and specially Bynum have really steped it up as well.Having said that, Kobe still manages to sneak at least 28 points per game so there really is no excuse to not contribute offensively in the first half of the season as Lamar did.Certainly i dont expect LO to average 28 per game, but as our SO-CALLED second scoring option i think 20 would be nice.And in closing i would like to add that as far as im concerned! Kobe was the MVP for 05-06 06-07, but the media or whom ever decides who the hell it goes to know that they robbed Kobe for it the last couple of seasons and want to make up for that now.And yes i said it! i love Kobe, but considering the fact that he started this season with a better and more focused team and now the addition of Gasol the real MVP this season is C-Paul.He’s the guy whom ultimately makes his team better and is the reason why they are sitting there first in the tough ass west looking pretty!!!

  • MILO

    Billy

    how is that for a rebuttal???

  • aibarra03

    West213,

    FYI, Lamar does have a tattoo, its on his chest under his jersey. Tattoo’s dont necessarily mean someone was raised poorly, its more of a cultural thing.

  • mplakers

    this guy isn’t a man amongst boys but, a teenager finally growing up.

  • mihailicious

    [Comment ID #30808 Will Be Quoted Here]

    I’m pretty sure we’re in third, and I agree Kobe should have won MVP the past two seasons. BUT, you’re a Kobe fan and not a Lakers fan from the sounds of it, and you’re looking out for Kobe’s best interests. If Kobe went to the bulls, you’d be sitting on your couch wearing a red jersey come game time. I think you would be better suited posting on KB24.com, here we post fot the betterment of the team.

  • MILO

    [Comment ID #30845 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Im telling you that Kobe is not the MVP this season and you’re going to tell me that im only a Kobe fan???Didn’t i just give a lot of credit to most of the team for their success in my previous comment???I think you should read it again and again until you realize that im giving the team as a whole credit for this years turn around.EVEN THEN! I THINK YOU’RE TOO SLOW AND IGNORANT TO UNDERSTAND IT, SO NEVERMIND IM JUST GOING TO DROP THIS BECAUSE IT’S CLEAR TO ME THAT YOU’RE THOUGHT AND COMPREHENSION PROCESS IS STUCK IN THAT OF A 5 YEAR OLD’S.WHAT A WASTE OF TIME! HERE I’M TRYING TO START AN INTELLECTUAL DEBATE, BUT UNFORTUNATELY I CHOSE THE WRONG PERSON TO DO IT WITH…

  • as1084

    if odom keeps playing with the aggression he is playing with now even when drew and gasol come back we are going to be unstoppable! who the f is going to get a rebound against us??? seriously?? ab pg lo all average double figures in rebounding..wow..not to mention kobe isnt a bad rebounder either. i think he averages like 6 or 7 rebounds a game too. keep it up lamar! i just want to know what sparked him to play like this??? the whole season he was underachieved and now 10 games left to go and he is a monster all of a sudden. i think he’s finally hungry for a ring. before i didnt think he really cared about winning but now he wants a ring badly. that is my guess.

  • 24allup inya

    Pau Gasol es un Heroe De Silencio y arriba Spain pincheths putoths hijoths de thu putha madrehhh!!!

  • http://skymicro.com hernando valenzuela

    [Comment ID #30799 Will Be Quoted Here] 65 games won and the lakers will have 4 all-stars

  • http://skymicro.com hernando valenzuela

    [Comment ID #30799 Will Be Quoted Here] 65 games won and the lakers will have 4 all-stars

  • mihailicious

    [Comment ID #30847 Will Be Quoted Here]

    So I skipped half of what you wrote, because by the looks of what you wrote in previous comments it was about as valuable to me, as a piece of dog feces covered in glitter. And as for your intellectual debate, maybe you should pick someone who cares what your opinion is. And please relax, I don’t want to see your intellectual self have an aneurism from pounding away at your keyboard and die.