At the end of a tough road trip, Lamar Odom and the Los Angeles Lakers returned home this week to prepare for the home stretch of the regular season.
Q: What type of memories do you have of this building, Amway Arena, given what happened here last year?
LO: When we walked in here we were talking about how we can still smell the champagne. (Laughs.) Orlando will always probably be a great place for us to come and play because of what happened last year. That's a really good team that you have to respect to beat them.
Q: Is there a bit of a rivalry developing between the Lakers and the Magic? Is there any difference in the matchup this year?
LO: I guess. We compete hard against each other. It's the same exact matchups. Really the same team except for Bass, Carter and Barnes. It's really the same offense: high pick and roll, roll Howard, flash Rashard Lewis, pick and roll Lewis in the corner, Howard underneath. Play back and forth, really the same thing. But of course they're trying to get back there as well. They know what it is to get beat in the finals.
Q: How is married life treating you?
LO: Married life is beautiful. I can't complain at all. There aren't too many times in life where one feels like he finds his soul mate, finds someone who understands you. We fit like hand and glove. We don't spend too much time apart, only for work. As a matter of fact I can't wait to get on the phone, get home and see my wife.
Q: We had an article on the site last week about your versatility and RealGM.com compared you to LeBron James in terms of your multi-faceted games. What do you think of that comparison?
LO: That's a beautiful compliment. It's funny. I was watching HBO the other day and I saw "Magic & Bird" and I realized why I wanted to play basketball so badly as a young kid. Those are the two players who I looked up to the most. It was just their approach to the game, their willingness to do all the big things and the little things.
Q: How do you keep up with your ever-changing role on this team?
LO: It's part of my game so I guess it's kind of embedded in me to play all over the court. It's something that I'm willing to do. I don't need a lot of shots to be effective or affect the game. It's something that I always wanted to do as a kid, was to play the point forward position. This is a great fit. Me being on this team is a great fit just for my game.
Q: What does being a Laker mean to you?
LO: Everything. It's special. Not too many people in their professional lives get to play for an organization that has so much tradition, that means so much to so many people. Anywhere I go, all over the world, people affiliate me with being a Laker, which is a big deal. The Lakers have to be one of the top three sports brands. I would say Cowboys, Yankees, Red Sox? Yankees or Red Sox, but Lakers is right there.
Q: You mentioned traveling the world, you were selected again to play for USA Basketball. How important is that to you, the ability to represent your country?
LO: It's a tremendous honor. We fell a little short my last time out, won the bronze. Hopefully this time I can help Team USA get back. Hopefully I can be named to the team, go to Turkey, represent them in the World Championships and in 2012 go to London for the Olympics. It's a tremendous honor.
Q: Last year it was like the Lakers, as a team, you guys were on a mission. Is the drive the same the year after?
LO: Of course, but teams are on a mission against us. It's a big difference. You have to understand, it's a big deal when we come to town. We're one of the best rock bands in the NBA. The city and teams get excited when they play against us. We were much better on the road last year. It's not what are you going to do, it's what can you do? We can play a lot better than how we have been playing, especially on the road.
Q: Are you guys as good as you were a year ago at this time?
LO: I think so, we're just as good. We don’t get frustrated and baffled by losses. We stay composed at all times. Win, lose or draw. Teams take the personality of their coach a lot of times. You see teams go on a 15-20 run and Phil won't call a timeout. Just because we lost three straight or aren't playing well, we don't throw up the white flag or start pointing fingers. We know it’s going to be hard. We expect that.
Q: Is there anything you want to tell your fans at LamarOdom.com?
LO: Thank you for checking me out, tuning in. Much love.