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Lamar Odom couldn't handle adversity as well as he once did

April 10, 2012|By Mark Medina
  • Dallas forward Lamar Odom watches from the bench during a game against the Lakers on March 21.
Dallas forward Lamar Odom watches from the bench during a game against the… (Max Faulkner / MCT )

Whenever adversity flew in Lamar Odom's face, he pushed it right back.

Instead of drowning in sorrow about his deceased family members, Odom inscribed their name on his shoes before every game. After initially stewing over a bench role with the Lakers four years ago, Odom laughed at the triviality of it all last season and became the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year. Shortly after witnessing his infant son's death and getting robbed at gunpoint six summers ago, Odom soon used the following NBA season as a refuge.

It isn't surprising that Odom initially reacted emotionally to the string of adversities this last year. He attended a cousin's funeral in New York. He was in the passenger seat of a car when a driver fatally struck a pedestrian. And then when the Lakers tried trading him in the Chris Paul deal, Odom felt so hurt that he demanded to play elsewhere.

What is surprising is that Odom couldn't brush it all off on the court.  Instead, he logged a career-low 6.6 points on 35.2% shooting with Dallas. The Mavericks and Odom have mutually agreed he will remain on the inactive roster for the rest of the season.

That's why it remains unclear what Odom's future will hold. Will time away give Odom enough space to finally figure things out? Or will it be a never-ending downward spiral? Metta World Peace mused to reporters that Odom could become the Lakers ball boy, but this is hardly a joking matter. It's simply sad that Odom couldn't lean on his past experiences to handle the latest rough patch in his life.

Instead, Odom overreacted to being involved in trade talks and overhyped the drama surrounding the deal in his reality show, "Khloe and Lamar." Instead, Odom showed his heart hardly involved giving a full effort with the Mavericks.

Odom can't change how he reacted to these circumstances. But he can change on how he copes with the consequences. It may seem hard for him to do. Odom only has to look back on the rest of his life story for a larger sense of perspective.


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