Over the summer, it seemed like former Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom was in the headlines every day for his alleged drug use and there were concerns that it would end badly. Fortunately, Odom is getting the help he needs and looks to return to the NBA eventually.
In an exclusive interview on The Seth Davis Show, Phil Jackson spoke about Odom and his battles away from basketball. When asked if he saw any patterns in Odom’s life that could leave him in this position, Jackson said there were concerns in the off-season:
“The summers for Lamar were a down period for Lamar. He had summer situations that went on almost every summer that I was coaching him after 2005-06. His son died — crib death. He got held up on the streets, gun shot in his ear, stuff taken from him. He never trained during the summers.”
While Jackson told Odom to be responsible for his conditioning during the summers, he never did. When Odom eventually had to stay in shape because of the 2010 FIBA World Championships in Turkey, he returned to the Lakers and won Sixth Man of the Year.
In addition to being concerned about Lamar’s off-seasons, Jackson shared that he initially thought marrying into the Kardashian family would be a terrific thing for Odom, but maybe questions the decision now:
“We thought the Kardashian arrangement or marriage was a terrific thing for him because it’s a family, structure, something to give him support. Maybe it wasn’t.”
Despite everything that has gone on over the last couple of years, Phil Jackson is very hopeful that Odom will return to the court because basketball means everything to him. While no one has been able to contact him including Luke Walton, Jackson has heard that things are looking up for Odom.
Jackson coached Odom for six seasons beginning in 2005-06 and has given him high praise for being a great teammate and locker room presence. Before the 2008 season, Phil asked Odom to be the team’s Sixth Man and it changed the dynamic of the Lakers in route to two championships and three Finals appearances.
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