Posts Tagged ‘Khloe Kardashian’

With Promising Career In Limbo, Friends, Family Rally to Pull Odom Out of Spiral

As Twitter messages of support go out to a spiraling Lamar Odom, his career in the NBA is on indefinite hold.

Multiple reports in recent weeks depict Odom in the grip of drug use. In the early morning hours last Friday he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after a California Highway Patrol officer pulled him over on the freeway for driving too slowly. Odom was unable to complete a field sobriety test and later refused to submit to chemical testing. His driver’s license, the CHP says, will probably be suspended.

Lamar Odom (Rocky Widner/NBAE)

Lamar Odom (Rocky Widner/NBAE)

His team last season, the Los Angeles Clippers, appeared to be waiting as long as possible to bring back the 6-foot-10 unrestricted free agent. But as more grim reports surfaced, the Clippers instead turned to veteran free agent Antawn Jamison. After 14 seasons, 12 spent with either the Lakers or Clippers, Odom’s status, on and off the basketball court, seems to be the worst kind of day-to-day.

Personal tragedy has long been inseparable from Odom’s life. He lost his mother to cancer when he was 12. The grandmother who raised him through a rugged childhood in Queens dies in 2004. His 6-month-old son died of sudden infant death syndrome in 2006. Two summers ago, in the fateful summer of 2011, he watched over a young cousin who passed away in a New York hospital bed, and then a day later Odom was a passenger in a car involved in an accident that killed a 15-year-old boy.

Odom, 33, has always been a deeply emotional and sensitive sort constantly seeking approval and acceptance. But he also seemed capable of staying a step ahead of the sadness. A self-destructive path had never seemed to lure him before.

But that summer of 2011, and into the fall as the NBA season was postponed by a labor dispute, may have served as a trigger point, a time when a swirl of personal and professional chaos collided.

We obviously don’t know all the intimate details, but before the summer of 2011, Odom was soaring at the height of his basketball career and presumably his personal life. He grew from something of an aloof talent to an integral contributor to back-to-back championships with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 and 2010. And in 2011, although a three-peat bid ended abruptly for the Lakers, Odom was recognized as the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year. He got married in 2009 to celebrity Khloe Kardashian after a brief romance, and the newlyweds publicly celebrated their L.A. lifestyle on reality TV.

Also revealed on the show was Odom’s shock when his agent, Jeff Schwartz, called to tell him the Lakers might trade him. Then they did, to the New Orleans Hornets. Khloe couldn’t get in touch with Lamar, but heard her husband’s somber voice on the radio talking about the trade: “He is so passionate, emotional, wears his heart on his sleeve,” Khloe said on the episode. “Hearing him on the radio and how heartbroken he sounds, it’s now sinking in that Lamar’s not going to be a Laker anymore. It’s sad.”

The trade, however, was never approved. Yet the crestfallen Odom told Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak to trade him anyway. Schwartz called Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who was fresh off winning the 2011 championship but who had not re-signed key players from that team. Cuban quickly made the deal believing it was a steal, acquiring one of the game’s most versatile forwards to solidify the reigning champs’ revamped roster.

Odom arrived in Dallas noticeably out of shape, and from the moment he took the podium at his introductory press conference, he appeared sullen and gave the impression that his heart was broken. His sluggish play through the early season suggested the same. Although he often spoke of turning a corner, he revealed little zest to compete.

Cuban and Mavs coach Rick Carlisle defended Odom for months, remembering the player he was the season before. They had his back through a bizarre, 10-day absence bridging the 2012 All-Star break. Finally, Cuban reached his breaking point in early April. He confronted Odom in the locker room in Memphis and soon after dismissed him from the team.

By the end of June, Odom seemed to get the reprieve he needed to rediscover his spirit. The Clippers traded for him. It wasn’t the Lakers, but it was a return to the comforts of L.A., to the team with whom he started his career. He would move back into his home with Khloe, be close to friends, reap the full $8 million on the final year of his contract and, of course, join forces with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin on a contender.

Odom still struggled offensively, his numbers (4.0 points, 5.9 rebounds a game) well below expectation, but he served as a 20-minute-a-night reserve who got crunch-time minutes for his defense.

What’s happened since and where Odom goes from here is a mystery. Odom has always been well-liked, and he will get another shot with another team if he can escape whatever is dragging him down. His reputation had never been that of a troublemaker, at least before his short time in Dallas.

Hopefully, family and friends can lift Odom and push him through the issues that now prevent him from starting a 15th NBA season. Hopefully, a career on indefinite hold will not become permanently closed.

Bosh Clears Mind, Roars Loud In Game 4

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SAN ANTONIO – If only we could climb a ladder and crawl through Chris Bosh‘s ear and into his head. Oh, the things we might find. Forget Khloe Kardashian and the flaky Lamar Odom, reality TV deserves a relatable, emotional human character such as the sensitive, sympathetic and cerebral Bosh.

Who wouldn’t have a complex always being told you’re the third wheel or you more resemble the dopey, leaf-eating sauropod rather than the roaring, carnivorous T-Rex everybody wants you to be, ripping opponents’ heads off and devouring basketballs straight off the backboard?

When Bosh struggles as he has during this roller coaster of a Miami Heat playoff run — one that now has them two wins from back-to-back championships and two losses from a summer of sharp-stick criticism for twice failing to win titles in three tries — it so often seems his troubles ignite between the ears, where he can submerge himself in self-doubt, a sure form of self-sabotage.

Dwyane Wade chuckled when asked if Bosh is the kind of guy that can stress himself out before stepping onto the floor.

“Well, I think he said it best — overthinking,” Wade said. “As a player we start overthinking too much, you know, you get in your own way. We’ve all done it. It’s times myself and and Chris do it a little too much.”

Wade and Bosh are neighbors and Wade has been known to stop by his teammate’s house to talk, to help ease his mind, help keep him as loose as Bosh can be loose.

“Loose?” Wade answered rhetorically when asked if he makes concerted efforts to keep the 6-foot-11 forward-center from overthinking himself into a mental ditch. “Chris is not a loose guy. He’s quiet and to himself. The biggest thing was just trying to let him know how important he is, how important he was going to be to us winning [Game 4]. He responded in a good way, but we got to continue to respond if we want to do what we did last year, and that’s win a championship.”

For a team that won 27 consecutive games during the regular season, the Heat haven’t won two in a row since clinching the Chicago series and opening the East finals with LeBron James‘ buzzer-beater against Indiana. Bosh, averaging 12.7 ppg in the playoffs, four fewer points than his regular-season average, and hitting just 46.2 percent of his shots, down from 53.5 percent in the regular season, has found more consistency in the Finals with his first postseason string of three consecutive double-doubles.

The Heat’s 109-93 Game 4 win to even the series, though, was his best performance since the second round and the most dominating by The Big Three. Bosh rolled to the rim, hit mid-range jumpers, swatted away would-be layups and crashed the boards. All told, he racked up 20 points (on 8-for-14 shooting) for only the second time this postseason and 13 rebounds, his high since May 10 when he posted 20-and-19 in Game 3 against the Bulls. He had two steals and two blocks.

“I want to play well every game. I want to play to the best of my ability, and sometimes that doesn’t happen,” Bosh said. “You’re going to have bad games in a long stretch, especially during the playoffs, and that’s when you really have to trust your game and trust what got you here. I think before I was really just trying to force some situations, thinking of how I can really get going, and it doesn’t work like that. I just have to really trust my instincts, trust my teammates and just continue to play and let things happen.”

Initially, it didn’t look as if it was going to happen for him in Game 4. Bosh started 1-for-4, missing his jumper and seeming tentative, like one of those giant, long-necked leaf-eaters stumped by which tree from which to begin his feast.

Bosh started to get rolling in the second quarter, then went 5-for-6 from the floor in the second half as Miami widened its lead. For chunks of Game 4, Bosh served as Miami’s lone big man on the floor. Coach Erik Spoelstra started shooter Mike Miller over rugged forward Udonis Haslem and Chris “Birdman” Andersen never got off the bench.

The small lineup boosts Bosh’s responsibilities at both ends of the floor, attacking offensively and defensively jousting with Tim Duncan as well as being the last line of defense and a primary rebounder.

“There’s no question about it,” Spoelstra said. “When we play with those lineups, he’s the last man there. I mean, we do have some hybrid wings, you saw Dwyane and LeBron back there as well.  But we need Chris to be big and to do so many different things and wear a lot of different hats. We play him offensively everywhere on the floor. But defensively battling against a Hall of Famer and then helping us clean up the glass really gave us a boost.”

Maybe Game 4 is the boost Bosh needed to clear his crowded mind and bring out the best in his game for as many as three games left in this title-or-bust season.

“It’s just the disposition, first of all, with myself and then everybody else. Those things are going to follow,” Bosh said. “I don’t really pay too much attention to the numbers. It’s just how I’m doing, the energy and effort that I’m giving out there, and everything else falls into place.”

Still Trying To Make Sense Of It All

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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Like any player making a major transition at this stage of his career, Lamar Odom is still trying to adjust to his new environment in Dallas.

He’s still trying to figure out where he fits on a Mavericks team that vanquished his Lakers in the playoffs last season, still trying to understand how best to utilize his vast array of skills in the same role that earned him Sixth Man of the Year honors last season in Los Angeles, but on a team that already had its own explosive sixth man in Jason Terry.

He’s averaging a career-low 6.8 points per game, basically half of what he produced last year for the Lakers, while playing a career-low 20 minutes a night. He also averaging 5.0 rebounds and shooting a meager 31.2 percent from the field and a putrid 18.9 percent from beyond the 3-point line while trying to find minutes in a crowded small forward field that also includes Shawn Marion and Vince Carter

It’s clear Odom is still trying to make sense of the sudden nature of it all … the trade, the game and where he fits into it all now that the Lakers are in his rear view. Well, except for tonight, of course, when the Mavericks hit the floor at the Staples Center to face off against his former team (10:30 p.m. ET on TNT).

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Game Time, Finally!

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Posted by Sekou Smith

LOS ANGELES – No offense to the hype, but enough is enough already.

I mean, when Lakers star Lamar Odom has to deny rumors about his wife’s pregnancy (as he did playfully during media day), we’ve officially veered off course.

We are here for a basketball game, right? Game 1 of the NBA Finals … Celtics-Lakers … remember that?

It’s game time folks, finally. And it couldn’t come sooner for all involved, as far as we’re concerned.

They are as ready as anyone to stop all this talking and get down to the business of basketball.

“We’re definitely ready,” Lakers center Andrew Bynum said. “This is it. There’s no other show to go to. There’s no next round. This is win or go home. And we’re definitely ready for this challenge. We obviously want to get them back. They beat us two years ago and we want to make up for that.”

Odom, who made it clear that he’d “probably be the first to know” if Mrs. Odom (Khloe Kardashian) was with child, said the atmosphere cranks up dramatically with a game finally on tap.

“They’re  a tough team that’s going to make us work and make us fight for it,” he said. “But this is the position we’re supposed to be in. This is our third time here, three years in a row. Everybody is focused and we’re just ready to play basketball. You can feel the buzz from the crowd. It’s going to be electric. All of your family and friends will be watching. It’s a golden opportunity.”

And for the umpteenth time, there’s no extra motivation needed to get everyone cranked up for the magnitude of this moment.

“It’s the Finals, Celtics- Lakers,” Celtics reserve forward Glen Davis said. “You don’t need any artificial sweeteners or anything like that for this one. It’s already there.”

All the rivalry talk, the reminders of what went on decades ago, are nice but completely unnecessary, per Lakers star Kobe Bryant.

“I only think about this one matchup,” he said. “The happy times of Magic [Johnson] winning against Boston or the sad times of Jerry West losing to them has no impact on me whatsoever.  I have a series to play. I have a series to win. I’ll just focus on that.”

Thanks Kobe, maybe the rest of the world will do the same now … focus on this series!

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