“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.”
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.
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.
“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.
It has been well over a year since Lamar Odom ended up in a coma after reportedly overdosing at a Nevada brothel, but the former NBA star insists he did not use drugs the night he nearly lost his life.
Odom was a guest on “The Wendy Williams Show” last week, and he declared himself sober after admitting to having a serious drug problem for years. He also spoke about the infamous October 2016 night in which he almost died.
“I wasn’t there for a (full) day. I woke up in a coma,” he said. “If I spent more than a day there … I don’t think so.”
Reports indicated Odom had been on a binge for several days at the brothel. When Odom was asked by Williams if he was high the night of the incident, he shook his head “no.”
“I think that was just God trying to talk to me and get me to stop doing whatever I was doing,” he said. “I didn’t take any drugs that night.”
When Williams pointed out that the toxicology report showed Odom had cocaine in his system, Lamar stuck to his denial.
“OK, but I didn’t,” he said.
Odom has been open about cocaine use derailing his NBA career, so it’s interesting that he is so adamant about not taking drugs the night he went into a coma. Perhaps the implication is that he accidentally ingested something, but he didn’t get into specifics.
Stephen A. Smith came under fire this week for taking what many considered a cheap shot at Lamar Odom, and the ESPN personality released a statement on Friday in an attempt to clarify his comments.
Earlier in the week, Smith was ranting about Phil Jackson when he noted that one of the Knicks president’s first moves with the team was to sign Lamar Odom at the end of the 2013-2014 season despite the big man being “on crack.” In a statement released to Deadspin late Friday night, Smith praised Odom and said he only intended to bash Jackson.
“Because of my personal affection for Lamar Odom — and only for that reason — I want to return to my comments about something I’ve repeated quite often over the last few days: the flagrant ineptitude that I feel has been on continual display by Knick’s President Phil Jackson.
My comments were NOT to put any more focus on Lamar Odom’s much publicized drug use and addiction. He was not the target of my ire.
The sole focus of my comments were directed at the unmitigated disaster that Phil Jackson has created since he’s arrived in New York. It my opinion, he simply couldn’t leave soon enough.
Lamar Odom is simply one of the nicest athletes any of us have encountered, and has always been a gentlemen to everyone in NBA circles — including me — which is something I’ve repeated throughout the years.
That’s why it’s worth repeating: Lamar Odom was not the focus of my ire. My comments were entirely, totally, meant for Phil Jackson. Anyone who loves the NY Knicks, who’ve witnessed what has been transpiring over the last three years, know exactly who I was directing my comments to.
Smith is as stubborn as they come, so it’s no surprise he didn’t come out and apologize. Even if what he said about Odom’s drug use was true, dragging Lamar’s addiction into a rant about Jackson was unfair.
Stephen A. Smith has been outspoken about his displeasure with Phil Jackson and James Dolan’s efforts to run the New York Knicks. Thursday on ESPN’s “First Take,” he criticized Jackson, dating back to his first days in charge of the Knicks and Jackson’s interest in Lamar Odom. Smith boisterously added that Odom was using crack cocaine at that time:
Zangeneh’s letter first denies that Odom was using drugs at the time in question, saying, “Let’s put aside the fact that Lamar passed all the required physicals and medical tests necessary to play in the league. Let’s put aside the fact that Mr. Smith attempted to qualify his statement by saying how much he likes Lamar, and wishes him well in his recovery.”
The letter goes on to criticizes Smith’s belittlement of addiction and those who battle that disease.
“Think about the others that are battling addiction. Those that have not had the strength of opportunity to share their struggle like Lamar. Imagine the effect this grotesque statement would have on any young athlete who is privately fighting this disease. To become the punch line of a vulgar joke.”
Jackson signed Odom to join the Knicks in April of 2014, but Odom never ended up playing for New York.
Shane McNichol covers college basketball and the NBA for Larry Brown Sports. He also blogs about basketball at Palestra Back and has contributed to Rush The Court, ESPN.com, and USA Today Sports Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @OnTheShaneTrain.
Lamar Odom has been a mainstay in the media for all the wrong reasons for the past several years, and that has been very difficult for members of his family. Odom’s daughter, Destiny, opened up about that recently.
Destiny, 17, said in a PEOPLE/Entertainment Weekly feature that she dealt with ridicule after Lamar began dating Khloe Kardashian. She says it became “humiliating” after her father’s battle with drug addiction became public.
“There were regular snide comments at school,” Destiny said. “And when his addiction became public, then it became a social media thing. Even people that I thought were my friends were saying stuff on social media. It was humiliating.”
Destiny was used to her family being in the public spotlight because of Lamar’s status as an NBA star, but she says Lamar marrying Khloe took things to a new level.
“Things changed when my dad married Khloe. Things were a lot more public,” she said. “When your dad’s an NBA player that’s already enough, but when he’s marrying a reality TV star, things are so public and you don’t have a private life anymore.
“It was crazy that my dad was getting married to this woman that I used to watch religiously. It was such a whirlwind, really.”
It has been well over a year since Lamar nearly died of a drug overdose, and all indications have been that he is doing much better. Destiny hasn’t seen her father in about two months, but she said she has told him she wants him to get help. Lamar is trying to land an NBA coaching gig, though it doesn’t seem like he is close to making that happen.
All indications have been that Odom is doing much better since he left rehab. Walton confirmed back in January that he had spoken to Odom about a job, but he said nothing was close to coming together. It’s unclear if any progress has been made on that front in the past five months or so.
Even if Odom does have his life on track, hiring him obviously would not come without risk. Though he is beloved by most Lakers fans, Odom’s long history with drug and alcohol abuse is well-documented. Walton and the Lakers would have to be very confident he has turned a corner in order to offer him a job.