Lamar Odom says he sabotaged himself from being No. 1 draft pick
Lamar Odom has exhibited some self-destructive behavior in his life, but few realized that included sabotaging himself from becoming the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft.
Odom was viewed as a talented, versatile player coming out of college at Rhode Island in ’99. He was in the mix to be the No. 1 pick, which ultimately was Elton Brand by the Chicago Bulls. Steve Francis and Baron Davis are two other talented players who were taken in front of Odom, while excellent players like Rip Hamilton, Jason Terry, Shawn Marion and Andre Miller went behind him, forming an extremely productive top-10.
In a recent interview, Odom revealed that he essentially sabotaged himself so the Bulls wouldn’t take him first overall.
Odom told The Vertical’s Shams Charania in a lengthy feature that he no-showed on the Bulls for his predraft visit, and instead spent the day at the beach on Long Island. He kept Chicago’s GM Jerry Krause and then-coach Tim Floyd waiting for seven hours without showing up. His interview with the Bulls before the draft also did not go well.
“Because the questions that Jerry Krause was asking me were inappropriate, I thought at the time,” Odom told Charania. “Jerry Krause was asking me questions about my father’s health, about his past. That was none of his business. That had nothing to do with me being drafted, me being a player. After talking to him, I didn’t really want to be No. 1. It worked out for the best.”
Although Odom acknowledges being the No. 1 pick would have been a cool career accomplishment, he says he didn’t think he really wanted to go No. 1 to the Bulls.
Also in the feature, Odom reiterated a sentiment he’s shared in the past, which is that being traded away from the Lakers derailed his NBA career. At the time, was nearly in tears after learning the Lakers wanted to trade him and he blasted the team’s front office. He also says he once turned down more money from Portland to remain with the Lakers — a decision he clearly believes was the right choice.
Odom’s not the first athlete to make a poor impression on a team during the draft process, only his efforts actually worked, unlike what happened with another star who did the same thing.