Lamar Odom has not been in a good place for the last sixth months. Casual Laker fans are more than aware of the absence of Odom as the NBA’s reigning Sixth Man of the Year from the Lakers’ bench after Odom requested to be traded following the vetoed trade for Chris Paul, but his emotionally-draining offseason losses have taken their toll as well.
Couple those with his rough start to the current NBA season along with his reported request for a “basketball hiatus” before his trade to the Mavericks and you have a Lamar Odom shooting 31% from the field and dishing out turnovers like assists. Fortunately for Odom, a familiar face reemerged from retirement to give Odom some sound advice on dealing with loss and new beginnings: Zen master and former Lakers coach Phil Jackson. Lamar Odom, from ESPN Dallas:
“He [Phil Jackson] told me just to be strong and get myself together and get myself in that place mentally where I can use basketball as my sanctuary,” Odom said. “He said relearn to do that through meditation and other forms to get to a place where you kind of leave everything else behind and focus on the now, the moment. And that’s what I have to work on in order to put myself in a place where I can go out here and actually play the game like I used to play it.”
It’s uncertain whether or not Odom’s talk with Jackson will quickly heal the wounds from the last six months. Though, if Odom’s play against the Lakers last night is any indication (Odom’s hot start would lead him to finish second in scoring for the Mavs with 10 points), Odom may be on the path towards working through his struggles.