Lamar Odom was the 4th overall pick in the 1999 NBA draft. Standing a whopping 6’10 tall, Odom very early in is his career was thought to be a “franchise” guy. Or at the very least a man you can build your team around. His versatility was praised about. A man that tall who could do all the things a coach could ever want in a player. If you could even remember back far enough, he scored 3o points and nabbed 13 boards his first game as a pro. In his rookie season he averaged 16-7-4.
Those are astonishing numbers for a veteran, but for a 20 year old rookie, wow. While his potential was thought to be unlimited, so was his off the court issues. While with his first team, the Clippers, he was twice caught violating the rules anti-drugs policy. Also, after his sophomore season his numbers and games played started to dwindle in LA. Going from the 16-7-4 stat line and 76 games played in his first season, to 14-6-3 and 49 played in his last in 2003.
Still with declining numbers early in his career, and never really living up to his potential, the Miami Heat took a flier out on him. The 2003-04 season was a fresh start for Mr. Odom. Lamar actually looked like he was going to start living up to that potential. Taking his average up to 17-9-4 with a then very young Miami Heat team. Sure, Dwayne Wade was there. But nobody at the time knew he was going to be the superstar that he is today. And at the time, Odom was the “guy” in Miami. Taking the Heat all the way to the second round in the playoffs.
If you look back on that team, outside of a young Wade, a still talented Caron Butler, all that had left decent on the team was the slowly decaying body of Eddie Jones, who was starting his(slow) decline of his NBA career.(Eddie Jones is my favorite player of all time) Also, if your old enough, they had a player named Bimbo Coles. Google him, it is well worth your time.(I am joking, don’t waste it, unless you want to know how he got the name Bimbo)
After that one season, Odom was traded to the Lakers. At the time I was very suprised, why would the Heat trade their best player? He, along with Butler and a nobody, were traded to LA for the fatness that was/is Shaquille O’neal. Odom had another fresh start, in La La Land.
This is when Lamar’s troubles actually started to manifest, or maybe we just started to take notice. Because we all know, getting in trouble for smoking dope in a Clippers uniform is not the same as being a wacko in a Lakers one. Think Knicks/Nets. His very first year there, he got hurt, and the Lakers missed the playoffs. The fun continues, he then spent the rest of his career in LA battling injuries, candy addiction, reality stardom, and serious family tragedies.
This past off season the infamous trade that never happened, well did not happen. Eventually sending Lamar to Dallas for a bag of doughnuts. The whole season for Odom has been a mess. Players publicly called him out and Odom never responding on the court. Apparently hurt and not wanting to leave LA, Odom all but gave up before even getting into a Mavericks uniform.
Today, Mark Cuban and the Mavericks released information stating they, along with Odom, mutually agreed to part ways. Putting Odom on the inactive list, ending his season and any chance of making a good name for himself in the state of Texas.
A lot of the time we poke fun at Odom for what a circus he became in LA, especially the reality stuff. Sadly, a story often over-looked, his son Jayden died in June 2006, he was only 6 months old and died of SIDS. Mentally, Lamar must of took a beating. A father losing a son is something he will never forget. Whatever happened in Dallas, I hope Odom is mentally okay. Poking fun is all great, but if there is a deeper under lying issue, this story might get sadder.
Odom will always boggle my mind. A guy almost 7 feet tall with all the tools, could never put it together. Outside of that one really great season in Miami, he has only had a few more good ones. Odom’s career might be done after today. Some people will remember him as a NBA champion, others as a reality star, I unfortunately, will remember him as a talented basketball player who never lived up to his potential. And if this is the end, goodbye Lamar and to what could of been.