From the perspective of a professional athlete, flying under the radar and being unappreciated for your immeasurable contribution is more than likely a seldom-sought prospect. But when it comes to the notion of accepting and playing that role of the unselfish jack-of-all-trades on a potential NBA dynasty team, no one could execute the task or a smooth rangy take to the cup at 6’10 better than Lamar Odom.
Next to Kobe Bryant, Lamar has endured the most criticism as a Laker since his arrival through the infamous Shaq-to-Miami deal many moons ago.
When the Lakers spent the first few immediate years into Odom’s arrival as a bottom-dwelling “playoff” team in the strong Western Conference, fingers were pointed towards Lamar. He was nowhere near the stratosphere of the strong legacy that three-time NBA Finals MVP, Shaquille O’Neal, had built for the better part of seven years in L.A.
Year after year, Odom’s name would be thrown in multiple trade rumors and such, to the delight of many Laker fans, but for whatever reason, the trigger was never pulled.
Perhaps back then, not even LO realized his full potential as an instrumental piece to the hopeful championship puzzle we all dreamt of resurrecting, but maybe the Lakers’ front office and coaching staff did.
Now here we are, seven years post-Shaq, nearing the end of 2010 and chasing what would be an outrageous fourth three-peat for the Lord of NBA Rings, Phil Jackson.
Would we be in this position if not for Lamar Odom being a part of the glorious affair?
Not a chance.
NEXT: Summer Solstice