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PRO BASKETBALL

Lamar Odom comes out swinging

Lakers forward loosens up on at training camp, showing off his boxing moves and improved conditioning.

October 01, 2009|Broderick Turner

It took a day, but Lamar Odom's smile and infectious personality returned.

He joked and talked about his beloved New York Yankees and the NFL and demonstrated his new boxing skills Wednesday.

Fun-loving, easy-going Lamar Odom was back, even after he had been tailed by paparazzi on his way to Lakers practice.

At Tuesday's media day, Odom looked uncomfortable when all the talk surrounded his marriage Sunday to reality TV star Khloe Kardashian.

But after two practice sessions, Odom was happy to talk about basketball, about the boxing class he took this summer to get in shape for the upcoming season as the Lakers defend their NBA crown.

Odom, who turns 30 in November, explained why he took up boxing and got into a boxing stance to show off his moves.

"If I can just turn my leg -- Boom! -- and knock you out with my right hand, I've got to be able to make a layup with my right hand," Odom said as he feigned a right-handed jab.

Odom laughed, as did the media on hand, and the joke was on him because he's left-handed and has been known to forgo shooting right-handed layups, and missing the few he has attempted.

This summer Odom worked out for two months at a gym in West Los Angeles. He figured boxing would help with his defensive play and give him a stronger muscle base for his ankles, legs and neck.

"I needed something really combative," Odom said. "It made me think of defense. It was all footwork. It just made me think about competing at the highest level. It was one-on-one. I don't get tired. I get my second wind easily."

Odom has never been one to train much during the summer, coming to most fall camps seeking to get in shape. He said he's in better shape because of the boxing.

"I don't give any attributes to the boxing class," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson cracked. "I don't know what that was all about. But it was probably the only time he's worked in the off-season. . . . But literally, he's in better shape than he's been in before."

And Odom was in a better frame of mind.

"I'm just waiting for somebody to act up a little bit, one of these teams. I'm going to sneak one in, at a real close range to -- bink!" Odom smiled and laughed as he threw a right-handed punch.

He reiterated that he was just joking.

"Naw, I would never fight on the court," Odom said. "But it brings something out of you that I can't explain. Especially defensive, I wanted to become a better defender. Maybe because we were getting Ron [Artest], I want to be able to complement him defensively, Kobe [Bryant] and Pau [Gasol] and all those guys."

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broderick.turner@latimes.com

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