06/23/2010 - 13:01
Soaking It In
After missing most of the Game 7 partying because of the flu, Lamar Odom finally got to enjoy the fruits of his labor on Monday.
LO and his teammates rolled through LA on their victory parade Monday afternoon, thanking fans and basking in the glow of their second consecutive NBA title.
"This is why we do it, to celebrate. To have the opportunity or the chance to win championships and do things like this is special. You only live once," Lamar told reporters at the parade. "It was an incredible feeling, an incredible celebration. To share it with the people, that's what it's all about."
"The energy was there [from the fans] from start, all the way to the finish, it was there. People were excited. I think the people understand, the team that we beat and the history everything behind it. I'm happy for the city of LA."
Lamar and fellow New Yorker and NBA champion Ron Artest (Getty Images).
Lamar's flu symptoms prohibited No. 7 from talking too much about the Lakers' championship win last week, but on Monday, he discussed what it meant to he and the franchise.
"It wasn't about beating Boston, it was about beating the team that beat you," the Package said. "No matter who the team would have been, that was the team that beat us in The Finals. It was a blessing to play them and get them back."
To win, Lamar said, was a relief, but not because of the pressure put on the Lakers, which LO said makes the moment.
"Any time something is tough, I think you appreciate it a little more," he said. "The pressure is the reason why you live for those moments. Down 13, third quarter, 7th game, we never gave up. It's fun. We had a lot of fun playing against this team and beating them."
Lamar's family also joined him at the parade, making it that much more special for him.
"It was beautiful,' LO said. "It was a family experience. That's what it's all about, being with family, having fun."
After willing his battered body through the NBA’s trying postseason, taking the Lakers to their second straight world title, Lamar said he's ready to take a little breather.
"I’m going away for two weeks. No basketball. We’re going to go get on a plane tomorrow and go to Mexico. We’ve got a friend who’s got a compound down in Puerto Vallarta and we’re just going to chill and hang out."
But, there won't be much rest for a weary LO, who, upon his return, will prepare to play for the United States in the upcoming FIBA World Championships.
"When I get back from my trip, I’ll get back to my rehab," he said. "The coaching staff knows what we’ve been through. They’ll make sure I stay in shape."
Normally, Lamar would take an extended break after such a rigorous playoffs, but he said the opportunity to play for Team USA is too good to pass up. And a free visit to Turkey doesn’t hurt either.
"Travel is the best education I’ve ever seen. To play basketball in different places, I’ll always remember that."
Sharing success with his wife Khloe makes everything sweeter for LO (Getty Images).
No. 7 also thinks his time playing for Team USA will help refine his game.
"I have to stay sharp, and I’m gonna have some help with these world championship games," Lamar told reporters as recorded by the Los Angeles Times Lakers Blog. "Just keep working, keep perfecting. It’s my job to be prepared. From guard to power forward I always have to ready to step in to any role."
But the role LO really wants to step into, he told Phil Jackson at their exit meeting on Tuesday, is the three spot (small forward).
"I told the coaches on this team I want to play a little more small forward."
The 6’10" swingman thinks that lining up there, with Pau Gasol at power forward and Andrew Bynum at center, would make for a fantastic combination. The three rarely played together during the 2009-10 championship campaign.
"When I think about the triangle offense, I think about size," Lamar said. "I think about posting up, using our size to post teams up and slow it down."
But basketball fundamentals and strategy aside, No. 7 said what the Lakers need to do most next year is fight.
"It feels good to be on top. Keep fighting for that number one spot. That feeling’s amazing. But when you lose it hurts ten times as much."
But he wouldn’t rather be in any other spot, defending a title in the city of Los Angeles.
"That’s just the pressure we live by," LO told the LA Times. "You’re talking about a franchise where it’s tradition to win championships. That’s what they expect. This is the type of pressure we live for. [If you win, it’s great.] If you lose, maybe things will change. That’s just the way it is."
For more from Lamar's exit interview courtesy of Mark Medina of the LA Times Lakers Blog, click here.
Lakers forward on championship parade (LA Times You Tube, June 21, 2010)
Audio of Lamar Odom's exit interview (LA Times, June 22, 2010)
After A Hectic Year On And Off The Court, Lamar Odom Is Ready For A Well Earned Break (Sports Radio Interviews, June 22, 2010)
Lamar Odom talks title, vacationing with Khloe Kardashian (ESPN.com, June 22, 2010)
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