Lamar Odom has been interested in playing in Ice Cube’s BIG3 basketball league for quite some time, but he may be more motivated than ever now to join a team for the upcoming season.
Odom told TMZ on Thursday that he could be joining the BIG3 this summer, and he said he doesn’t have a preference of which team he plays for. However, he said he would like to play in honor of the late Rasual Butler, a fellow former NBA player who died in a car crash last month.
“The person I wanted to play for just passed away, so it don’t matter,” Odom said. “I jut want to go out there and represent for him.”
Odom considered Butler one of his closest friends in the NBA.
It’s unclear if Odom is going to receive an offer to play in the BIG3, as one coach said last summer that he would not want the former Los Angeles Laker on his team because of Odom’s well-documented issues in his personal life. While there have been reports that Odom has his drug problem under control, a disturbing video showed that he had collapsed in a nightclub back in November. Odom appeared to remain conscious, though it’s unclear what exactly happened.
Most people seem to agree that Odom could still play if he can get in shape and keep his head on straight, but those are two very big ifs.
Lamar Odom was recorded on video after collapsing at an LA nightclub early Sunday morning.
TMZ Sports shares the report and video of the former NBA player on the ground after falling in his VIP booth at a club called Bootsy Bellows.
— #Catchthetea (@catchtheteaTV) November 6, 2017
There’s no other information available surrounding Odom’s condition.
Odom has been in rehab before for substance abuse issues and openly admitted that cocaine helped end his career. Seeing him collapse like that is not a good indication that he has learned his limits or is taking the best care of his body possible.
Lamar Odom apparently takes the Bro Code very seriously.
In an appearance this week on Complex’s “Everyday Struggle,” the former Sixth Man of the Year and ex-Los Angeles Laker commented on the Nick Young-D’Angelo Russell scandal that rocked the Lakers last year.
“If I was Nick Young, I would’ve put my hands on him,” said Odom of Russell, per Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype. “And I was expecting motherf*ckers on the team to put their hands on him. That would’ve showed camaraderie.”
Though both players are no longer on the Lakers, it’s hard to forget the stir that Russell created when he outed Young’s alleged infidelities in a secret cell phone video, and it seems that Young still hasn’t quite gotten over it. As for Odom, perhaps this is a subject matter of particular sensitivity for him.
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.
The BIG3 basketball league has given former New York Knicks fan favorite Charles Oakley another chance to play competitive basketball, but the 53-year-old does not believe that same opportunity should be afforded to Lamar Odom.
Oakley, a player/coach who made his playing debut with the BIG3’s Killer 3s on Sunday, told TMZ he would not want Odom on his team.
“I don’t like him like that,” Oakley said. “In life, sometimes you only get but one chance. He’s had three or four chances. He can play, he’s a talented guy. I’m just saying … I don’t want him on my team.”
Odom, 37, has said in the past that he would like to resurrect his basketball career. A previous report from TMZ indicated he has a legitimate chance at joining the BIG3, though league founder Ice Cube sounded skeptical in some recent remarks he made.
Lamar Odom has indicated in the past that he wants to play professional basketball again, so it would stand to reason that he would be interested in playing in the BIG3 if he has no future in the NBA.
One of Odom’s close friends and former coaches said last week that Odom is excited about the possibility of joining a BIG3 team. Ice Cube, the founder of the league, told TMZ on Sunday that Odom’s wish could come true if he can get himself into shape.
“I love Lamar. I’d love to see him play again. Dude’s just gotta get in shape,” Ice Cube said. “If they think they’re gonna just walk off the street onto the BIG3 court, they’re sadly mistaken. If guys get in shape, we’d love to see them play. If you ain’t in shape you’re gonna get embarrassed.”
Sources told TMZ that Odom has had some productive conversations with BIG3 league officials, and the 37-year-old joining the league is something that “could really happen.”
Odom recently opened up about his cocaine addiction and said he has been clean and sober, which is the first step toward being able to resume his basketball career. He has hinted at some other possible career opportunities in basketball, but playing in the BIG3 could be a great way for him to get back on his feet.
Lamar Odom appeared done with the game of basketball, but has apparently had a change of heart.
Jim Harrick, Odom’s close friend and Rhode Island coach, told TMZ Sports he recently talked to the basketball star who informed him he was pumped about the idea of potentially joining Ice Cube’s BIG3 league.
“I talked to him the other day,” Harrick said. “He told me before he didn’t want to play anymore, but this three-on-three [league] has got him excited. . . He can compete if he gets in shape. He’s got to get in shape.
“If he can get in shape, he can play with anybody.”
Odom recently opened up about the dark moments of his cocaine addiction for The Players’ Tribune, sparing no detail in the story leading up to his overdose at a Nevada brothel in 2015 — an overdose that nearly took his life.
“At that point in my life, I was doing coke every day. Pretty much every second of free time that I had, I was doing coke. I couldn’t control it,” Odom wrote in the editorial.
Odom insists he’s now completely clean and sober, so a return to basketball — even the BIG3 — would be a welcomed and needed change-of-pace for the former first-round draft pick and two-time NBA champion.