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NBA finals, Lakers Celtics: Odom is as Odom does

Jun 11, 2010, 1:30 PM EDT

odom.pngLamar Odom is a perplexing player. He possesses an enviable skill set and considerable talent, but after a career’s worth of opportunities, roles, teams, and coaches, no one has quite found the magic button that would turn Odom into a superstar.

Juxtapose the ongoing Odom conundrum with Andrew Bynum, who is more of a conventional everyman star. Nothing about Bynum’s talent or physique suggests he’s a working class hero, but the way he’s battled through his knee injury during this playoff run makes him endearing to sports fans who cling to the warrior ideology. There’s nothing wrong with that, as valuing strength, perseverance, and resolve makes for sound living.

Nowhere is that perspective better encapsulated in today’s NBA sphere than in Kevin Ding’s excellent column for the OC Register:

[Odom] couldn’t be such a great team guy if he didn’t understand what it takes to win. He gets it. He just doesn’t want to have to do it, because it’s too much pressure to have great expectations and too hard for him to stay focused all the time. The sad reality for the Lakers is that Bynum’s knee might not be so
thick with yellow goo right now if Odom hadn’t been floating like a
butterfly out there and mindlessly drawing fouls – overburdening
Bynum’s knee – early in Games 1 and 2. Despite Odom improving in Game
3, Bynum still had 10 rebounds to Odom’s five.

He played slightly more of that game than Odom, too. That was enough
time pounding the parquet for Bynum to suffer what he called “two
tweaks,” leaving the knee weakened for Game 4. Bynum got a drop pass 53
seconds in, went up to dunk it and found himself strangely smaller than
Kevin Garnett, who blocked the shot cleanly. It’s not an issue of additional pain. Yes, sometimes the torn
cartilage pinches acutely between the bones, which hurts like heck, but
the muscles and tendons won’t fire properly at all when there’s so much
swelling.

…[In Games 2 and 4], the fruit has hung there within the Candyman’s reach and gone
unclaimed in Lakers losses. As wasted an opportunity as it was Thursday night – no team has ever
blown a 3-1 NBA Finals lead, and the Lakers are 9-0 all time when
holding such situations in the championship round – this Lakers team’s
happy ending should still be out there.




That last note is a crucial one, and part of what makes Ding’s column so balanced. Rather than continuously call out Odom for what he’s not able to do and question why he can’t do it, he simply concedes that Odom’s full potential isn’t what the Lakers need to win. Because it’s not. They obviously need him be better, which Ding clearly acknowledges, but I think we’ve reached the point in our familiarity with Lamar that we can all move past ripping Odom for being what he’s not.

That’s where the conversation with Odom always goes sour, both in these playoffs and in any other. We tout stars like Kobe Bryant as being superhuman for their limitless drive and unconquerable will, and deride anything that falls short of a frankly ridiculous standard. What we’re really doing is criticizing Odom for being merely human; he’s one of basketball’s mortals, even if he is an athletic specimen and as versatile as they come.

Lamar should be playing better, but this is who he is. It’s who he always has been, and always will be. Ding’s headline reads “Bynum a tree, but Odom has been a shrub.” It’s fitting, even if Ding himself doesn’t run with the metaphor throughout. Bynum has been a tree, and Odom indeed a shrub, but that extends far beyond the limits of these finals. That’s who Bynum and Odom are. Lambasting Odom for being Odom is criticizing a shrub for not being a tree. It doesn’t make it any less true, but at this point, should anyone really expect the shrub to transform into a tree?

  1. KT - Jun 11, 2010 at 3:43 PM

    He doesn’t even try! I’ve been watching him closely, and he trots down the court with no urgency,and he barely takes shots, he’s always looking for someone to pass too. Yes, he has gotten older, but he played much better at Miami. There’s been numerous times where he’s looking in the stands during time outs, or not paying attention to what the coaches are saying during these timeouts. I thought he was a really good player coming out of college, but he hasn’t developed into the player everyone thought he should be, or could be. He wants the money, (which he is way overpaid). I believe he feels, ” hey I’ve got my ring, if I get another great, if not oh well. ” He’s not going to the hall. Lamar, you’ve been a disappointment. You care more about the public eye, and reality shows, sorry to say.

  2. He Married A Fat Ho - Jun 11, 2010 at 3:46 PM

    He is too distracted thinking about why on earth he married a fat ugly attention whore.

  3. Omnius - Jun 11, 2010 at 3:47 PM

    Every time the Lakers lose out come the Odom naysayers. Yes Lamar could be playing better, but so could every player on both teams. The problem is that Boston has 4 Little Big Men playing against 3 Laker Big Men. Last night at the start of the 4th quarter it was really evident that Boston’s fresh substitute big men outhustled the Lakers because they were fresher. Phil Jackson has to play DJ Mbenga despite his lack of experience. He’s a strong 7 footer who can provide more energy while providing Odom and Gasol more bench time to recover their energy. Bynum is playing with a lot of heart but his knee is really impairing his ability to jump like he did in the first three games. The whole Laker bench has to step up to counter the fresh Boston bench. Lakers in 6 games still.

  4. emerald - Celtics fan - Jun 11, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    KK is not fat and she certainly is not ugly. Don’t be a hater..

  5. He Married A Fat Ho - Jun 11, 2010 at 4:05 PM

    Yes, she is both fat AND ugly. I see we agree on the fact that she is an attention whore.

  6. Lamar O - Jun 11, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    Says the fat and ugly anonymous blogger hiding behind a computer!! LOL What a moron!

  7. Mrs Lamar Odom is Beautiful - Jun 11, 2010 at 4:41 PM

    Lakers lose and the naysayers come out. Bynum was injured. The bench didn’t produce, so all logged heavy minutes. Where is the mention of Kobe’s 7 turnovers. Where is the mentioned on Pau only having 3 rebs in the second half. Where is the mention of Ron’s missing offense. So, instead of making everyone accountable for the loss, you just lay it at Odom’s feet. Very irresponsible on Ding to attribute Bynum’s knee to Odom. Bynum needs surgery. He’s playing on an injured knee that will continue to swell until he has the surgery.

  8. Hateraide - Jun 11, 2010 at 4:42 PM

    Jealous? Go look in the mirror in your parents basement and while your at it check your bank book. That’s what she does. There is a market for socialite/celebs these days. People watch. Who could blame her for taking advantage? I’m sure you would do the same if anybody cared about you. Let’s get back to basketball shall we. Jealousy is pathetic my friend.

  9. He Married A Fat Ho - Jun 11, 2010 at 4:47 PM

    Fat + Ugly + Attention Whore. Even Kobe wouldn’t rape her!

  10. jjjjjjjjjjjj - Jun 11, 2010 at 5:05 PM

    KK is not fat and she certainly is not ugly. Don’t be a hater..
    hahhahahhahahahahahhahahahha
    She’s is def UGLYYYYYY!!!!!!! SCARY UGLY!! Fugly even!

  11. L Odom - Jun 11, 2010 at 5:07 PM

    I have to admit….I married a fat ugly attention whore! I can’t take it anymore. It feels better just admitting it.
    However, you are wrong about one thing….Kobe WOULD rape her.

  12. K-man - Jun 11, 2010 at 5:11 PM

    Lamar played the same way in College at University of Rhode Island. He could have been a big time college star. He bailed because he was good enough and his grades were terrible.

  13. ocgunslinger - Jun 11, 2010 at 7:39 PM

    How this became about Odom’s wife says a lot about the intelligence of some of the morons who comment on a sport issue.

  14. ocgunslinger - Jun 11, 2010 at 7:43 PM

    How this became about Odom’s wife says a lot about the intelligence of some of the morons who comment on a sport issue.

  15. I hate haters!!! - Jun 11, 2010 at 8:27 PM

    I was getting ready to comment @He Married A Fat Ho, but Hateraide said it all.He Married A Fat Ho even came back posing as L Odom. Is it that serious to you?!?! Really!!!

  16. Drew - Jun 11, 2010 at 8:29 PM

    I felt like Boston really squandered Game 3. They could easily be up 3-1 right now and looking to close out at home. Had Ray Allen even made a couple of shots in Game 3, the outcome would’ve been different. But, it is what it is. I picked Boston in 6 and I still see that playing out. Bynum’s injury is a MAJOR factor. If he can’t give them much, with Boston’s swarming defense on Kobe, it’s going to be really difficult to manufacture easy baskets. That means more minutes logged for Gasol and mismatches along the frontline.

  17. Da Real - Jun 11, 2010 at 8:41 PM

    Odom has always been this way. The piece is dead on. No one knows what is wrong with him and no one ever has. Is he just dumb? non-competitive? drug/alcohol user? or just scared?
    Why don’t we hear about Kobe hating on him? I have always wondered that. Maybe he has mental problems and Kobe pities him.

  18. luffy - Jun 11, 2010 at 9:01 PM

    Odom is a good guy but not great, he seem to not have the intensity and the will to win it. I hope he turns it on in games 5 and 6…
    Just for fun, I saw in other posts most people say that KK looks like Chewbaca of starwars? LOL!

  19. MasterMind - Jun 12, 2010 at 4:30 AM

    So true. Lamar is perceived as respectful and thoughtful. He is naturally naturally altruistic. He’s a good guy a Star in his own heart. Helping his teamates is Lamar’s pursuit of happiness. Many people who like the Lakers must ask ourselves,particularly if you are a Los Angeles community, if the Lakers Organization has created a positive impact to my community. The Lamar Odom and the Lakers will not only win Game #5 they will go on to win the championship. I call it.
    Lamar Odom must remember his “helping behavior” and carry the Lakers through to the 2010 Championship. The entire team must come together and make personal committments to do the job of being a ‘good’ athlete and make a personal committment to engage the community and find passion in serving the public. Athlete’s are apart of our “civic society” and they have a “noblesse oblige” to the many people who support their craft. Odom could be a leader and really play a significant role and remember his innate “helping” characteristic then the Lakers will be a more cohesive attentive team.
    As long as they keep the Phil Jackson strategy of blow the team with a fast paced 1st and 2nd and then release a bench of fury 3rd and 4th. Boston has an older team that gets tired a lot quicker then the resilient Lakers Organization.

  20. MasterMind - Jun 12, 2010 at 4:44 AM

    So true. Lamar is perceived as respectful and thoughtful. He is naturally naturally altruistic. He’s a good guy a Star in his own heart. Helping his teammates is Lamar’s pursuit of happiness. Many people who like the Lakers must ask ourselves, particularly if you are a Los Angeles community, if the Lakers Organization has created a positive impact to my community. The Lamar Odom and the Lakers will not only win Game #5 they will go on to win the championship. I call it.
    Lamar Odom must remember his “helping behavior” and carry the Lakers through to the 2010 Championship. The entire team must come together and make personal committments to do the job of being a ‘good’ athlete and make a personal commitment to engage the community and find passion in serving the public. Athlete’s are apart of our “civic society” and they have a “noblesse oblige” to the many people who support their craft. Odom could be a leader and really play a significant role and remember his innate “helping” characteristic then the Lakers will be a more cohesive attentive team.
    As long as they keep the Phil Jackson strategy run the opponent with a fast paced 1st and 2nd and then release a bench of fury 3rd and 4th. Boston has an older team that gets tired a lot quicker then the resilient Lakers Organization. They will dominate..

  21. Bamm Bamm - Jun 12, 2010 at 11:33 AM

    L.O Is a good player but not great we dont need him to be, but he needs to be more energetic , seize the oppurtunities when they come and he cannot i repeat cannot get out played by big babynot

  22. oh hell yeah - Jun 12, 2010 at 12:35 PM

    I bet KK can suck a golfball through a water hose!!! The world’s best head!!!

  23. Joy L - Jun 12, 2010 at 12:44 PM

    I go along with the comment- he did marry a fat spoiled ugly whore! Hopefully, it won’t last. Lamar can do better!

  24. Michael - Jun 12, 2010 at 12:56 PM

    Odom is a ‘head-case’ which is why the Clippers got rid of him!

  25. GREG - Jun 12, 2010 at 1:01 PM

    maybe just maybe the reason why odom dosnt always play up to peoples expectations is because they expect to much and he realy isnt as good as people thought. maybe its not he isnt playing well enough maybe its he is playing as good as he is and the flashes of awesome are just that random flashes

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