LOS ANGELES — Lamar Odom is no longer a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s now two stops removed from the team he won two NBA Championships with and a Sixth Man of the Year Award.
That transition away from the Lakers appeared to be easier for everybody else besides Odom.
As he returns to the city in which he had the most success of his career and begins a second tour of duty with the team that drafted him, the Clippers, he has a bunch of wisdom to impart to a team with championship aspirations of their own.
“They’re going to get it,” said Odom of the knowledge he’ll freely deliver to his new teammates. “I’ve learned from the best.”
Odom is entering his 14th year in the Association. Half of that time was spent in the Purple and Gold where he attained all of that championship wisdom.
He looks to soak up even more information he can relay to his new teammates by reaching out to members of his old team — the one he doesn’t mention by name.
“I spoke to a guy named Derek Fisher, who was a captain of one of my old teams,” Odom said.
Not the Lakers, but his old team.
“No, no, no…” blurts Odom, interrupting a reporter’s question regarding if there’s any animosity he harbors with his “old team.”
“You’d be a fool to hate what you love,” he said. “It’s out of respect for this team to not mention where you once were.”
What can easily be misconstrued as Odom living in the past and still not over his love affair with the Lakers, is him trying to leave the past in the past.
That includes the worst professional season of his career last year in Dallas. For the first time in his career he has to bounce back from poor play and not off the court tragedy that has followed him most of his life.
“You know basketball is easy right? Getting booed or not making a shot,” Odom laughs. “Coming back or having a comeback type of season, that’s easy compared to some of the things that I’ve seen and faced and had to deal with.”
He’ll have a fresh start with the Clippers, the team that gave him his start out of college.
“If I can have a year like I had when I was 19 or 20, that’d be pretty special,” Odom said. “I expect to.”
One of 12 new pieces on the Clippers 20-man training camp roster, Odom, will be asked to come off of the bench for the new look Clippers looking to advance past the second round of the playoffs this season.
Odom has two pieces of jewelry that say he’s a winner. Getting this team to those heights is something he reached out to Fisher about.
“It is a mindset,” Fisher told him. “There’s a certain way that winners think, on and off the court.”
Ironically enough, Odom knows his mind is going to be his most valuable tool this season to help him improve on the career low 6.6 points per game last season and the 35.2% shooting from the field.
“The mind is a strong tool, a strong tool,” he said. “My mindset and the way I think is completely different.”
The Clippers sure hope it’s a change for the better.