The biggest joke in the NBA comes in the form of Lamar Odom this Monday, as the reigning Sixth Man of the Year calls it quits with the champion Dallas Mavericks just three weeks shy of the postseason. It marks another less-than-stellar stunt in the lean power forward’s career-long bout with underachievement.
Blessed with the wing span of a seven-foot center, height at 6’10", dribble game of a point guard and fluidity and body motion of a left-handed George Gervin, Odom continues to self destruct and combust his NBA career with carelessness. The man is best suited for reality television and Jenny Craig commercials, as he arrived this season lackadaisical, pudgy and twenty pounds too heavy.
Heading into camp disenchanted with the sudden sweep of his services from sunny L.A. to down-home Dallas, Odom’s lesser bench role deconstructed the possibility of a follow up to the 2010-11 campaign, his best to date.
It does not take a brilliant mind to see clearly the slack-jawed dope’s disinterest with hard work and maturity. He’s lazily mustered a decent NBA career out of what critics would describe to be an astronomical natural talent, one that began in the 1999 draft as clearly the most touted young prospect to enter the NBA ranks since Tim Duncan in 1997.
The one-and-done do-gooder withstood ongoing attacks from media during his college years (citations for marijuana use) with his natural god-gifted ability to command attention and paralyze a defense with a utilitarian style of play.
Most impressive were his comparisons to Erving “Magic” Johnson, who also side-stepped off-court tangles with a strong sense of leadership while in college.
Odom, a one-man show at mid-major University of Rhode Island, attracted significant attention with his ability to involve his less-dynamic teammates, leading a surprising URI team to the NCAA Basketball Tournament in 1999 as a devilish dark-horse candidate. It was there that the quiet and sometimes-aloof forward collected his comparisons and teased NBA scouts with the one-of-a-kind intangibles of his services.
Without question, Odom was the best of any player selected in his draft and entered the NBA on a red carpet. Perhaps it was the early silver spoon that ultimately disintegrated what could have been. Or maybe our computerized cultural environment of text messaging, iPhones and Xbox 360 created the ugliness of a slothful giant more in love with the make-believe world of created images than the real, living and breathing one?
There is not other musing to best segway the character of Lamar Odom. I know for the man nicknamed LO, the list above has maintained his attention more than any notion of star potential, and that is grossly, grossly sad. He clearly was/is not hardwired with a hall-of-famer's fight for perfection, and he has been unfairly coddled with praise despite the poorest of work ethics.
His NBA 2K12 self on my PlayStation is much more stubborn, strong-willed and dominate. It proves how unfairly unstoppable the man would be if he decided to put it all together. But the real Lamar Odom is none of those things, poorly made with a stoner's apathy and insatiable adolescent craze for children's candy and late-night video games.
Why, God, did you not bless others with his abilities? He is at his very best when controlled by x, circle, square or triangle button.
Lamar Odom is a packaged product flawed from inception.
He’s a jambled logarithm on a 1080-P television twisting and twirling in the air.
He is not real.
He was, as he always is, a wayfarer with no need for direction.
He's an image.
Lamar Odom is another unfortunate product of his environment without the fight to invent himself otherwise.