07/01/2012 - 07:30
Back Where it All Began
Thirteen years into his NBA career, Lamar Odom is headed back to the place where it all began.
On Friday night, the Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz completed a four-team deal that will bring LO back to Los Angeles to play for the team that drafted him in 1999.
Lamar Odom is headed back to Los Angeles to play for the Clippers, with whom his career began in 1999 (Getty Images).
The news came down eight years to the day of the death of his grandmother Mildred, and six years to the day of the passing of his six-month old son Jayden back in 2006.
"All on the same day," Lamar told TJ Simers of the Los Angeles Times. "I take it as another sign, a blessing really. It feels like somebody is watching over me and I'm filled with glee."
Lamar played four seasons with the Clippers after they drafted him fourth overall in the 1999 NBA Draft. He played 230 games over four seasons with the Clips, averaging 15.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. In 2003, Lamar signed a contract with the Miami Heat. After one season in Miami, LO returned to LA, where he played seven seasons with the Lakers.
A trade prior to the 2011-2012 season sent Lamar to the Dallas Mavericks, but his lone season with the Mavs was marred by more tragedy. During an offseason trip to New York, Lamar was forced to bury a cousin who was shot and killed. During the same trip, LO was riding in a car that collided with a motorcycle; the motorcycle killed a pedestrian.
The two deaths stuck in Lamar's mind for the entire season, as he related to Simers.
"I wasn't responding like I would normally respond in pressure situations because of what I was going through mentally. Maybe it was even bothering me physically,” he said. "I think sometimes we put athletes on this pedestal like they can't have anything in life bothering them. But a man can go through something in his life for a period of time that might just defeat him."
The trade from Dallas to the Clippers has brought LO’s career full circle, and given him what he views as a golden opportunity.
"I'm the kid from South Jamaica Queens who has beaten the odds again and again," he tells Simers with a little extra verve in his voice. "And in time the naysayers will be riding the bandwagon."