04/20/2011 - 08:16
Praise from All Over
While Lamar Odom handed out praise to his family, his friends, his teammates and the fans in accepting The 2010-2011 NBA Sixth Man Award, those that observe Lamar day-in and day-out know what he himself has given to earn the award.
Members of the media, those who chose Lamar for the prestigious honor, praised LO's performance and commitment to doing whatever it takes to help the Lakers win:
Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the award "epitomizes [Lamar's] selfless approach to basketball and life"
"With tears watering his eyes, Lakers forward Lamar Odom stood at the lectern and stared at everybody watching him.
He had just accepted the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award Tuesday in a gathering at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel on W. Century Blvd, shared a few laughs from the stage to the seats where Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher and Luke Walton sat and had been given the floor to bask in the spotlight.
Odom's assumed that role plenty of times before, whether on the hardwood at Staples Center or on his newly released reality television show, "Khloe and Lamar." But as he's demonstrated in both those instances, he deflected the attention. What caused his eyes to water didn't involve earning an award General Manager Mitch Kupchak considered "overdue." It involved accepting an accolade and attaching everyone else's role in it.
From his contention that his wife Khloe Kardashian and her extended family has made him feel more balanced outside of basketball to the teammates that consider him their locker room favorites, Odom stared at them, thanked them and then teared up. Odom didn't apply acceptance speech protocol. Odom's explanation on what made him so emotional defines his selfless approach to basketball and life.
"Basketball has given me everything I love," said Odom, who told The Times' Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner that his emotions sparked because his mother, Cathy Mercer, and grandmother, Mildred Mercer, had raised him in New York, but now both are deceased. "It's taken me to so many different places. It brought me across so many different people."
Nowhere was an individual award attached to that concept of selflessness than a sixth man award. It was an honor that pointed to his willingness to come off the bench for the third consecutive season without much complaint. It was a reflection of what Bryant argued was Odom's most "consistent season" in his 12-year career, averaging a third-best 14.4 points on 53% shooting and a third-best 8.7 rebounds."
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles pointed to the award as a sign of Lamar's growth both on and off the court:
"It takes longer to appreciate players like Odom. To appreciate men like Odom.
It sometimes takes even longer for them to want a piece of the limelight for themselves, finally.
To feel comfortable in that place.
There are a thousand reasons it took Odom 12 seasons to finally get there, but watching him up on that stage, his teammates seated in the second row, clapping and cheering for him like studio audience members at the George Lopez show, it was clear he had arrived.
He had finally become the best version of himself…."
"It's amazing how different a person can look through a new lens.
Everything he's always been is still there, but it looks different. Brighter. Better.
Lamar Odom hasn't changed; he's grown.
The award he took home was a little smaller than Bryant's. The honor not as grand. But it was the award he has always been hard-wired to win.
His talent might have come from the same spring as Bryant's, but it was always going to flow down a different path."
Brian Kamenetzky of ESPN LA's Land O'Lakers writes that Lamar is the rare sixth man that can do it all:
"But statistics, while important, don't tell the whole story. Many sixth men are, for lack of better categorization, flawed starters. Guys with a particular skill but a less-than-well rounded overall game. Obviously Odom is no such player. On most teams he's a starter, and certainly it's hard to find players of his talent willing to accept a role off the bench for the betterment of the team. Odom's contributions both to the on court product and the team's chemistry are a huge reason the Lakers are chasing a third consecutive title.
His value is difficult to overstate.
I generally don't believe in giving out awards based on career achievements, and don't think the writers responsible for voting are doing so, here. Odom deserves it. But particularly for a player whose career has for so long been defined by what he isn't rather than what he is, to recognize the special body of work Odom has compiled both this year and during the championship run for the Lakers is important.
He's a team-oriented guy who has earned the opportunity to be recognized individually, if only for a day."
Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com believes it's about time that Lamar gets recognized for his unique talent:
"In both accurate assessment and understatement, Lamar Odom said the individual recognition, any individual recognition, has been long in coming. Correct. It has been a long time. As in forever.
Until Tuesday, when the Lakers forward was announced as the landslide winner of Sixth Man of the Year, one of the league's most versatile, unique unusual and most skilled players had never been singled out for official praise. Through all the important roles on very successful teams, Odom had never won an award or made an All-Star team.
So the honor had special significance even for someone who has reached the ultimate heights of championships, the last two seasons with the Lakers and in summer 2010 with Team USA at the world championships. Odom did not take being named the top reserve for granted. If anything, he was deeply touched by the moment, choking up with emotion in his acceptance speech at a hotel ballroom in Los Angeles as he appeared to reference family members he has lost through the years, including an infant son.
This is no ordinary player, and this was no ordinary trophy presentation."
Mike Trudell of Lakers.com contends that what Lamar's honor means to his teammates says everything about what he means to the team:
"Gasol, Bryant and the rest of the Lakers were thus very happy to get the news on Tuesday morning that their favorite teammate (this is factual) was indeed named the 2011 Sixth Man of the Year, set to receive his honor in front of L.A.'s home crowd on Wednesday evening against New Orleans.
Obviously, Odom was a vital contributor not just to L.A.'s consecutive titles, but also to Team USA's gold medal performance at the 2010 World Championships, honors which mean more to him than individual awards. But Odom, despite 11 accomplished NBA seasons, had never received an individual award, and was disappointed not to be among the 2010-11 All-Star selections.
It makes the Sixth Man award taste all the more sweet for Odom, particular as he never envisioned himself coming off the bench in the first place, but eventually convinced himself that it was best for the team.
Two titles later and in pursuit of a third, it's clear that he was right."
Darius Soriano of Forum Blue and Gold blogs that LO's presence as the glue that holds the Lakers together sets him apart:
"It's been said many times over, but Odom really is the glue to this Laker team. He's a leader, the bridge between the starters and the reserves, and probably the most beloved teammate in the Laker locker room. His ability to stay grounded and always do what's best for the team shows a selflessness that is very much needed on a team where a precious few consistently get the accolades even though everyone contributes to the success of the group.
His humble nature only reinforces the sacrifice that is a requirement on any team expected to contend for the championship. In a way, he's been the most consistent Laker and could easily be described as indispensable. Not too shabby for a guy that some questioned would ever live up to his potential on this team.
And while I wish Odom could have also gotten that coveted all-star berth that's eluded him his entire career, this award isn't such a bad consolation. It only reaffirms his value to this team and shines a light on how consistently good he's been this year as a key cog to the team's success. So, again, a big congrats to my favorite lefty. He earned this award with a stellar campaign. Now, there's only one more piece of hardware to win (and I'm sure he'd trade today's trophy for that other one handed out in June)."
- Lamar Odom's Sixth Man of the Year award epitomizes his selfless approach (Los Angeles Times, April 19, 2011)
- Lamar Odom is the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year (Silver Screen and Roll, April 19, 2011)
- A big congrats to Lamar Odom (Forum Blue and Gold, April 19, 2011)
- Lamar Odom wins Sixth Man of the Year Award (ESPN Los Angeles, April 19, 2011)
- Lamar Odom, at last (NBA.com, April 19, 2011)
- Benchmob Beat: His time in the spotlight (Lakers.com, April 19, 2011)
- Lamar Odom named NBA Sixth Man of the Year (Lakers.com, April 19, 2011)
- Lakers' Lamar Odom top sixth man (ESPN Los Angeles, April 19, 2011)
- Lamar Odom's Sixth is his best (ESPN Los Angeles, April 19, 2011)
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