Unselfishness may be Lamar’s best trait, as his willingness to do what is best for the Lakers has propelled the team into a potential dynasty. Odom’s commitment to winning is something that should not be undervalued.
At the beginning of the 2008-2009 season many assumed that Lamar would slide to the small forward spot with the return of Andrew Bynum from injury, Phil Jackson had other plans. Soon, for the first time in his NBA career, Odom would be coming off the bench, a role in which he was reluctant to fill initially.
Odom eventually embraced the role and became the glue that kept the Lakers, sometimes inconsistent bench together. Although Odom was the leader of the bench mob, this role would only be temporary as Odom would be forced to step into the starting role for injured Andrew Bynum.
Since that initial season of coming off of the bench the once reluctant Odom has now gotten used to coming off of the bench. Odom’s acceptance of his sixth man role is one that few players of his caliber would take, but Odom is ultimately willing to sacrifice his individual accolades for the best interest of his team.
Odom’s acceptance of his sixth man role is not the only evidence of his unselfishness. With his abilities Odom could be a shoot first player, and could put up monster stats. Odom doesn’t do this though as he knows that he is third or sometimes fourth in line for the Lakers when it comes to scoring, allowing him to do what he does best, be a player who does a little bit of everything.
Odom also sacrificed during his free agency in 2009. Many players would have been satisfied with one championship and would have opted for more money and a bigger role. Odom did not, as he not only gave the Lakers a discount price, but he also happily returned to his sixth man role.
Odom’s value to the Lakers can’t be understated, without Odom the Lakers do not win the last two championships. His ability to do anything on the floor and his commitment to winning has been one of the key factors for the Lakers and their hopes at a 3-Peat.
While the Lakers’ journey to a third consecutive championship is far from over, the sixth man should receive unlimited credit for his efforts this year and past years. Odom has overcome adversity, injuries and turned it into triumph. While Odom was snubbed of the all star that has eluded him, his recently won Sixth Man of the Year proves that his sacrifices, growth and basketball skill have all been noticed.