Lamar Odom: A Career Retrorespective

Can Chode League produce an article on Lamar Odom with poise and insight, and without the sort of soddish “we’ve always loved Lamar Odom” lies and bullshit you’d find literally anywhere else on the internet? Well, we’re about to try, with our first ever Career Retrorespective.

From troubled young player, to established veteran presence, to fading star, we’ll look back at the ebbs and flows of being LO, summarizing each season with his overall Chode League score and a couple essential memories. In the end, we’ll tally it all up and let you know whether Lamar’s been a genius or a chode in his time, so go ahead and take a moment to place your guesses now. It’s time to go way back.

-779.55 CL Points

Just about every rookie struggles adjusting to the NBA, and Lamar Odom was thrust into a Clippers team at the nadir of the Sterling era. Coached by NBA legends Chris Ford and Jim Todd, the Clippers were outscored by eleven and a half points per game, and finished with a 15-67 record. Rough times all around.

However, it wasn’t all bad. Lamar lived up to being the 4th pick by averaging 16.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. And he threw this ridiculous alley-oop in VHS quality.

The future was bright.

-525.9 CL Points

“I’m always here for you if you wanna high five me too, Lamar.”

In his second year, Odom improved under the watch of his new Coach Alvin Gentry, and a team whose highest-paid player was Michael Olowokandi still managed to win 31 games in an increasingly crowded Western Conference. However, Odom’s one-two punch of 3.5 turnovers and 3.1 personal fouls a game was still too much for the Chode League formula to forgive. (He was the best kind of chode too, with 4 triple doubles to show for it.)

Off the court, many felt that there was growing cause for concern based on his past, and it all flared up in a really ugly, concretized way thanks to the NBA’s drug policy. Odom — whose father was a heroin junkie, and whose mother died from cancer when he was 12 — was suspended five games for violating this policy. Which drugs did he abuse, you ask? Apparently, just pot. But the perception of him as a troubled talent was already taking root.

-576.85 CL Points

Is that a Santa hat? Or an aviator cap? Please teach me about hats by emailing

The 2001-02 season should have been a nice uptick in Odom’s career. The Clippers acquired Elton Brand from Chicago and finished at 39-43, their best record since the 1992-93 season. But Lamar violated the NBA drug policy again, and goddamn check out this article by J.A. Adande just ripping him a new asshole for it.

The NBA lifted his suspension after 8 games, but Odom ended up playing just 29 games that season. After that, he was never suspended for violating the NBA drug program again, although he did occasionally catch suspensions for shit like nose-tackling Ray Allen in the years to come. More on that later.

-612.85 CL Points

I really wish the internet had more high-res pictures back then. At least this one is high-quality.

Boy, these CL scores really are trending in the wrong direction aren’t they? Well, so were the Clippers.

The Clips went from having an All-Star in Elton Brand the year before to winning just 27 games again. Alvin Gentry was fired midway through season, prompting Lamar Odom to call up his now ex-coach and personally apologize for playing and living at a lower standard than he felt was appropriate. But it was already clear that his time in L.A. was done, for now anyway. After playing just 49 games, the Clips declined to match Miami’s offer for him.

-526.45 CL Points

Rookie Flash? Eddie Jones? Caron Butler? What a fun team! Oh I guess Brian Grant is there too that’s okay.

In 2004, Lamar was part of a young Miami squad that went 42-40 under Stan Van Grundy. He actually played pretty well, even though he only stayed for one year. Afterwards, he was traded as part of the Shaq deal that turned Miami into a real contender. To clarify, that’s not a dig — no one is calling Lamar Odom Shaq.

And no, the CL scores will always hate him because they ain’t him. And for his turnovers, fouls, and so-so shooting. He’s just a big chode at heart, but that’s okay. We can still love him.

That summer, Lamar Odom was part of the infamous bronze-medal-losing Team USA team that mysteriously included 0 three-point shooters. You know who else was on that team? Previous teammate Dwyane Wade, Jr., which shows how highly this Miami squad’s potential was regarded. I guess they won a ring two years later, so nbd.

(And yes, Dwyane Wade, Jr. is really what the most official Team USA materials I can still find called Wade back then. The official Team USA site itself seems pretty well-scrubbed.)

-495.5 CL Points

Collectively, we are more than the sum of our parts. We are Shaquille O’Neal.

I’ll always remember Lamar Odom in the purple and gold. I just might not remember him going 34-48 under Rudy Tomjanovich and Frank Hamblen, but I suppose I’m only human. This whole year was a bit forgettable – Odom injured his shoulder, and the Lakers missed the playoffs, which back then used to be a big deal.

The following summer, the Lakers would bring back Phil Jackson for a variety of obvious reasons. Namely, there was a prime Kobe Bryant on a losing team, which is like hiring Leonardo da Vinci to paint your apartment with a roller brush, except you paid him $14,175,000 to do it.

-136.15 CL Points

Well, 45-37 isn’t losing. Huge uptick for LO this year, but for me, this year actually contains one of my biggest Odom memories. It weirdly doesn’t even involve him directly, although it showcases what kind of guy Lamar really was. Check out his enthusiasm as he celebrates with (or at least in close physical proximity to) Kobe Bryant at the end of Game 4.

Fuck I hope he’s okay.

-538.8 CL Points

Fuck you, getty images. I’m trying to have an emotional connection right now and you’re only making it more obvious how awkwardly Odom’s jersey is tucked in.

Another year, another injury, but really the main point I want to emphasize with Odom is that he was real as hell through all of this. Here’s a quote from another article:

The idea for the religious apparel line came to Odom when he returned to New York following the Lakers’ first-round playoffs ouster in May.

“It was like the mid-’80s again, a terrible economy without the crack,” he explains. “The young men in the inner city are without guidance, robbing and shooting each other with no remorse. … Our system is crazy because we’re planning to fail. Everybody needs something to grasp on to.”

By the way, Odom’s son died from sudden infant death syndrome right around this time. He was also robbed at gunpoint in Queens, by which I mean the dude actually fired a shot. No really, go read that article.

Anyway the Lakers went 42-40 or whatever and this was an awkward transition year for them and who cares that’s not what this article is about.

+162.35 CL Points

“Look at you, getting a positive score from Chode League. This guy’s an Enstein!”

So this is the year Pau Gasol came over, Kobe Bryant got his MVP, and the Lakers lost in the Finals. The Lakers went 57-25, setting a benchmark they would exactly equal in three of the next four years, and established themselves as legitimate NBA contenders. For the first time, Lamar Odom was in a stable, winning situation.

Oh yeah, this is also that year he trucked Ray Allen. Good memories here. Remember when Celtics v. Lakers was fun and a little fiesty?

-96.9 CL Points

NBA Champion L.O. was sort of the spearhead of the Lakers’ bench mob, and he was awesome in that role. Somehow he turned lineups featuring several guys like Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic, Luke Walton, or Vladimir Radmanovic into good-looking second outfits. His skill set perfectly fit the needs of a high-post big in the Triangle. It was awesome.

The Heat really went after him again during the next off-season, but Odom liked what he had in LA — the team had just gone 65-17 — and that was probably the right call. It’s hard to imagine what the Heatles would have looked like with Odom, or whether it even could have happened with his contract on the team (almost certainly not). Still, kinda crazy players everywhere he went wanted him back huh? Shut up Dallas fans.

-302.75 CL Points

[NBA Champion] Another 57-25 year, another ring, this time over the same Celtics that had beaten him in 2008. That summer, Lamar also won gold with Team USA in the FIBA World Championship. The accolades just kept rolling in.

He also married whatever Kardashian just before the 2009-10 campaign, which is how we now how much he fucking loves candy. By the way, this is around the time to start getting nervous for Lamar Odom again.

Also — Lamar Odom fucking loves candy.

+73.15 CL Points

Jesus Christ

Sixth Man of the Year. Chode League Genius. Somehow shooting 38% from three. Amazing! The Lakers went 57-25 yet again, only to be annihilated by that upstart Mavericks squad that hit like a billion threes and permanently wrecked the Lakers’ swagger. Here’s Kobe down 3-0.

Instead, the sweep was completed by an 86-122 loss in Game 4. Things are about to stop making sense ever again, by the way. Here’s a tidbit from Wikipedia regarding Odom’s life away from the court in the months afterwards:

During the offseason, he considered taking a break from basketball after a close cousin died and Odom was a passenger in a SUV involved in an accident that killed a teenage cyclist.

That’s one hell of a run-on sentence of bad shit happening.

-427.05 CL Points

Oh man, oh man…never again.

Naturally, the Lakers — who were not off to a slow start or anything, I just checked — decided in December of 2011 to trade Lamar Odom to the same Mavericks who had killed them just a few months prior. There are any number of news stories out there talking about how the Lakers were “stunned,” “confused,” “angry,” and no shit. What did the Lakers get back? A protected top-20 pick and a trade exception.

We know how the Lakers are today. And we know how badly the Odom trade worked out for the Mavericks, too. In less than a year, he went from Sixth Man of the Year to playing in the D-League with the Texas Legends.

So why did any of this happen? And what went wrong? Well after extensive research, I have no fucking clue. Maybe he really was supposed to be a Laker for life.

-409.4 CL Points

I know, maybe the Clippers are the right team? You know, so Lamar can get all the negatives of living in Hollywood with Kardashians without actually being part of the Lakers organization.

This was his last year in the league. The absolute nadir was his lone Shaqtin’ appearance. Nothing crazy, just blowing a dunk, but by now he was a through-and-through punchline.

Well, he played in Spain the next year, and signed (although did not play) with the Knicks the season following. But I’m ending my story right here. So what did we learn?

-5192.65 CL Points
961 Games
14 Seasons

This bromance though.

I have no idea. Maybe that Lamar Odom was a great player, and a better person. Everywhere he’s gone, his teammates have been pissed to see him go. So I really don’t know what to say here. Maybe not every story gets a happy ending, or makes a hell of a lot of sense when you’re done telling it. And hopefully, we aren’t done yet.

We at Chode League are pulling for Lamar Odom. Please keep him in your thoughts during this time.


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