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Lamar Odom’s reality show not affecting his game

Apr 21, 2011, 1:58 PM EDT

Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

I’ll be up front: I don’t like to criticize other media members for their opinions. Sports should be a fun debate and if we disagree about things, so what. The vast majority of people I’ve met in this business are good people, serious and passionate, who realize we have some cool jobs.

And I like Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times. The couple brief times we’ve spoken casually at events he has seemed a good guy, and I can tell you people in the media really like him.

But his column on Lamar Odom and his new reality show with both poorly thought out and crossed the line into a personal life that really was uncalled for.

In case you missed it (and I did for a day because frankly, I’ve stopped reading Plaschke regularly), he said Odom’s new reality show Khloe & Lamar was bad for Odom and the Lakers.

One of the show’s themes, even from the arrangement of names in the title, is that the Kardashian women are powerful enough to even push around an NBA star. I’m wondering how Odom can watch or hear about himself portrayed in this manner, then go out and easily become the aggressor on the basketball court….

It’s raw, it’s painful, it sometimes shows Odom as being even softer than the reputation of Pau Gasol and, as a motivational tool, it stinks.

The problem is that all actual evidence shoots this down. Plaschke may not like reality television, but he tries to pull out small sample examples to bolster his point when the larger picture shoots him down.

The Lakers went 17-1 while the reality show was being filmed and Lamar Odom kept playing well enough that he put a stranglehold on winning his first ever Sixth Man of the Year award, following the best season of his pro career.

Then the show went on the air and the Lakers didn’t play as well. The problem there is a basic causation vs. correlation problem — just because two things happen at the same time doesn’t mean one caused the other. There is a long history of the Lakers in the last three years going through stretches of playing poorly for weeks at a time. None of those were reality show related, they were Lakers psyche related.

If you’re trying to say a reality show made Lamar Odom an inconsistent player, then apparently he has been filming a reality show since college.

Did Odom have a bad first game of the playoffs? Yes. Name a Laker who didn’t. So Plaschke makes a connection to the reality show….

But then Odom put up 16 points in Game 2 and was one of the keys to the Lakers win. So… now what with that theory? Well, Pau Gasol had a second off game in a row, so maybe he is bothered by Odom’s reality show? Or maybe we should let the big picture play out before leaping to conclusions.

Before I wrote this, I suffered through one episode of Khloe & Lamar (and I mean suffered, that show is just bad television). My first thought is the thing seems scripted. Even the arguments seem scripted. So, just like on Around The Horn.

You know how Odom came off to me? Human. He has fights in his marriage and sometimes says things he regrets. Been there. He makes mistakes. He tries to get through as best he can. He is insecure about some things. He wants to make his wife happy. All totally different than the rest of us.

And his wife won an argument… um, yea. That’s how it works 99 percent of the time. Unless Plaschke married a mannequin he knows that.

Odom — and every NBA player — has to go through the same life crap we all do. Personal relationships can effect how we perform at work sometimes. Eve though we try not to let it. We make mistakes. We spend a lot of time dealing with the little annoyances of life when we’d rather be doing what we enjoy doing.

Odom decided to put all that out there in a reality television show. So what? There are limits to what we should read into the personal life of professional athletes, even when they put those lives out in the most public of displays.

Basically, until we see evidence that Khloe & Lamar makes Odom worse on the court, you can’t say it does. No matter how desperate for a column topic you are.

  1. aqzi - Apr 21, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    Good, well thought-out post from a guy who started his first blog to focus on basketball analysis, not the off-the-court BS.

  2. steelyres211 - Apr 21, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    I hate the Lakers, but I think that Plaschke has always been an idiot. Odom has been inconsistent throughout his career, sometimes he’s the best player on the floor and other times he’s just plain invisible.

  3. musilly - Apr 21, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    I generally agree with the themes here at PBT. One of them is that Narrative Sells and I think it’s applicable here. Plaschke’s (sp?) is trying to push page-views/paper-sales with something a little controversial but if he’s trying to claim that Odom’s game is suffering, he’d do better to decide that on the basis of Odom’s play rather than anything else.

  4. bigcali4life - Apr 21, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    I agree with Kurt here. Bill tends to write controversial articles around the playoffs. Last year he said how LA wouldn’t win the Finals. It’s really nothing new. On to Lamar like someone pointed out before me, he can be a flat out stud or sometimes a dud. Luckly for LA (espcially this year and late night) he’s been one of the more consistent players on the team. I haven’t seen the show at all, bud I seriously doubt what the producers are doing on the show makes Lamar play differently. I also will add Odom’s speech yesterday accepting the award made you see that he’s human. You can see the lost of his son and fellow family members still weighs on him.

  5. swift98 - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    I watched the show, wasn’t that painful, mostly because I’m a Laker fan and cut him some slack. Although scripted, it gives a glimpse into the life of Lamar and we find that he’s just like many of us, successes, doubts, disappointments, family, family challenges. All of us can relate. Bottom line it doesn’t keep him from doing his job and doing it well.

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