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LAKERS FYI

Lakers forward Lamar Odom has commercial appeal

The veteran's marketing value seemingly has soared since his marriage to reality TV star Khloe Kardashian. Odom has been in three national TV commercials the last two months.

March 19, 2010|By Mike Bresnahan

The face of the Lakers is now… Lamar Odom?

The 30-year-old forward has been in three national TV commercials the last two months, including one on Super Bowl Sunday and another that's running often during the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

Kobe Bryant still has mass appeal, but Odom is getting plenty of attention these days.

He has made random TV appearances in the past, popping up on "Entourage" and the former sports-agent series "Arli$$," though his new-found commercial appeal can be traced to his wife of six months, reality TV star Khloe Kardashian.

"I don't think you can underestimate the impact that those nuptials have had on his marketing value," said Paul Swangard of the Warsaw sports marketing center at the University of Oregon. "The typical challenge is you're only going to get coverage from the beat writers who cover the Lakers, but he has found a way to get some crossover marketability."

Odom understands why.

"We got married and 3 million people watched, you know what I'm saying?" he said. "That's just part of it. I would have never thought I'd be married … and married to somebody that's on reality TV."

Odom can be seen during the NCAA tournament declaring his allegiance to a Samsung mobile device by proclaiming, "Now that's what I call a slam dunk."

He also did a commercial for Power Bar in which he ate some "Energy Gel Blasts" and was able to dunk on the moon, yelling "Get out of my way, Saturn" while apparently taking the long route to the moon.

He appeared on a Taco Bell commercial during the Super Bowl, holding a small box crammed with fast food and saying, "It is lots and lots in just one box" as Charles Barkley strolled past him.

He smiled when asked about his second career.

"It's cool. Different," he said. "It's not just run with the basketball, jump with the basketball. I'm appreciative. I'll keep doing them as long as they keep coming my way and we play well. It's not a distraction or anything like that."

Gasol's paparazzi problem

Lakers forward Pau Gasol was angry after he realized the unfamiliar sedan tailing him Wednesday in Redondo Beach was being driven by Spanish paparazzi.

He pulled into a nearby police station to ask officers to investigate the two men, who ended up wanting photos of Gasol and his new girlfriend.

"I wasn't scared," Gasol said. "I just didn't want to take a risk or chance. I don't appreciate people stealing your intimacy and privacy, so I found out that's what they were [doing]."

Gasol, who lives in Redondo Beach, is the third Lakers player in the last two years to go to police with an incident of being followed or, worse, stalked.

Last April, guard Derek Fisher received a restraining order against a woman who sent him numerous e-mails and letters claiming to be his wife and also changed her last name to Fisher, according to court documents.

In December 2008, a woman charged with stalking Luke Walton was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to attend weekly counseling sessions for one year. She was arrested a few months earlier after pulling up alongside Walton's car and pretending to fire gunshots at him with her hand, police said.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

twitter.com/Mike_Bresnahan

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