10/01/2012 - 10:45
A two-time NBA champion, Lamar Odom knows better than most that winning is an attitude and a mindset, one that Lamar wants to carry with him in his second stint with the Los Angeles Clippers.
But after a trying 2011-2012 season that saw him deal with tragedy and heartache while his mind spiraled, Lamar decided that he needed a refresher course in what it means to be a winner. So he turned to an old friend for a little guidance, as he told reporters at Clippers Media Day on Friday.
"I spoke to a guy named Derek Fisher, one of the captains of my old teams, last night," Lamar said. "We just talked about winning and the mindset of winning. We spoke for about 45 minutes. Some of that conversation, I'm going to pass on to these guys as soon as we head into the locker room because it is a mindset and there's a certain way that winners think on and off the court."
Lamar speaks to reporters during Los Angeles Clippers Media Day at the team's practice facility in Playa Vista (Getty Images).
LO said he came away from the conversation with Fisher, who has five NBA championships on his ledger, feeling refreshed and rejuvenated mentally.
Though his talk with Fisher helped, Lamar's change of mind was not an overnight occurrence, but more of a process and it featured many states and steps. He's come along way since the summer of 2011, when he dealt with dual tragedies in New York that brought past pain screaming back to the front of his mind.
"I've been through a lot," Lamar said. "I've lost some of the close people to me, buried a child, won championships and got married in front of the world."
The wave of emotions caused him to experience a lost season with the Dallas Mavericks last year, something he admitted to and apologized for as he spoke with the media on Friday. But given some time away from the game to truly deal with pain, loss and regret, Lamar feels he's finally been able to cope and put it behind him.
"It could have happened anywhere," he said. "I wasn't over a lot of the things I have been through. Sometimes, when you are going through certain things, other things that we have been through in the past come up, they resurface. This summer I learned a lot about myself. I have been through a lot. I have learned how to channel my energy, my thoughts and how I think the right way. I have become a lot stronger the last six, seven, eight, nine, 10 months."
He believes that all he has been through off the court has prepared him to face anything on it and he's ready to return to the form that saw him win Sixth Man of the Year just two seasons ago.
"Basketball is easy, right?" Odom said. "Getting booed, not making a shot? Being excused? Yeah, basketball is fairly easy. Coming back, having a comeback type of season, that is easy compared to some of the things I have seen, faced or had to deal with."
He'll be looking to have that comeback season in perhaps the most unlikely location possible, with the team he began his career with, in a city he's spent nearly his entire adult life in. But Lamar sees Los Angeles, and the Clippers — the team that drafted him way back in 1999 —as the right fit at the right time.
"It is warped a little bit. It is good to be back home. But it is weird," LO told the Sporting News. "Sometimes in order to do what we want to do, to make good decisions, sometimes we have to be in that happy place. I am back in that happy place."
Lamar joins a frontcourt that includes All-Star Blake Griffin and centers DeAndre Jordan, Ryan Hollins and Ronny Turiaf. (Getty Images).
Lamar's last stint with the Clippers began when he was a teenager and he became one of the game's phenoms. He was selected to the NBA's All-Rookie Team after his first year, what he and the team believed to be the beginning of a long prosperous marriage.
With Darius Miles, Elton Brand and Quentin Richardson, LO and the Clippers were supposed to take over LA. But the potential never manifested itself and after the 2002-2003 season, Lamar and the Clips decided to part ways. No. 7 went on to Miami where he matured, then came back to LA and prospered with the Lakers. After the one year in Dallas, LO is back for a third stint in LA, hoping to bring the Clippers the production he did as a youth with the added benefit of the championship experience he's gained since he left.
"I came here when I was 19. Being back is an out-of-body experience," he said. "If I can have a year like I had when I was 19 or 20, that'd be pretty special. I expect to."
As the Clippers begin Training Camp this week looking to build on last season's playoff run, LO gets a chance to turn expectation into reality and he thinks he can do it. After all, winning is a mindset and with his mind right again, Lamar believes he can help the Clippers become LA's IT team, fulfilling the promise that came with him some 13 years ago.
"They're going to get it. I've learned from the best, some of the top coaches and top players and top winners and I've learned from all of them," he said. "I think I bring back a lot of insight. All I have to do here is be Lamar. That's not hard. To take what I know and pass it along to guys, I think that's pretty cool."
- Clippers' Lamar Odom 'back in that happy place' (Sporting News, September 29, 2012)
- Clippers' Odom trying to get his mind right (FS West, September 30, 2012)
- Clippers open camp with high expectations (USA Today, September 29, 2012)
- Odom: Clips are deeper than championship Lakers (ESPN Los Angeles, September 28, 2012)
- Odom-eter reading for Clippers (The OC Register, September 29, 2012)
- Lamar Odom says he's ready to move forward with Clippers (Los Angeles Times, September 29, 2012)