My 'Prayer Line' For Odom In Mavs Donuts
DONUT 1: No laughing matter ...
Laugh at or ignore TMZ, if you wish, when it is reporting "exclusives'' about sports even as it is clear that nobody employed by TMZ knows whether a basketball is pumped or stuffed.
But when it comes to the Kardashians, TMZ is the unmatched authority. So a report of Lamar Odom having gone missing for 72 hours while embroiled in a breakup with his Kardashian wife and while allegedly burying himself with his heavy drug addiction is not to be scoffed at.
DONUT 2: Writes TMZ ...
Sources connected to the NBA star tell us people on Lamar's side, and on the Kardashian side have not been able to find Lamar or contact him for nearly 72 hours -- and we're told the main concern is he's hiding out while doing crack cocaine.
As TMZ first reported ... Khloe Kardashian threw him out of the house Wednesday after attempting an intervention which Lamar squarely rejected.
We've already told you Lamar's been battling addiction for at least 2 years -- and even reluctantly agreed to go to rehab in San Diego a year ago ... although he bailed after 3 weeks.
Our sources tell us Lamar has gone off the hinges since basketball season ended and he became a free agent.
DONUT 3: A two-year addiction? ...
That would explain a great deal, as that time period obviously overlaps into arguably the darkest personnel decision in the history of the Dallas Mavericks.
And no, all things considered, we do not believe that is an overstatement.
Doesn't the NBA test for such things? (Especially if pot-smoker Odom is already red-flagged?) How did Dallas not know about this? Did the Lakers know, and thus their motivation for giving him away?
This is a tragedy waiting to happen for Odom. Way down the list of importance -- but on it nevertheless: This is an ongoing embarrassment for everyone who has ever been conned by him. The Lakers and the Clippers, maybe. The Mavs for certain. His family, of course. Yours truly, no doubt.
DONUT 4: Odom Tales ...
During his partial season here, Odom told stories that were meant to explain his erratic behavior, his lack of commitment to punctuality and his lethargic habits on the court.
Some of the tales are completely true, and are detailed here in a story I did as a result of a lengthy one-on-one interview with Odom. The death of his baby is among the many horrors that burden him.
DONUT 5: More Odom Tales ...
But some of the tales are less than true. There was lots of mumbled, whispered explanation that was really just existential horseshit. His "excused absence'' from the Mavs that season (as opposed to all the unexcused slip-ups) was NOT due to his drug-addled father suffering from a "stomach virus,'' as Odom made certain was widely reported.
The truth about his father's illness is something I discussed with Odom. I relayed to him the details I'd learned. He relayed to me that if I wrote such a thing, he would sue me.
I checked the family bank account.
I declined to write the truth.
And now here comes Lamar's agent saying he hasn't been missing for 72 hours, that he's simply been in an LA hotel for that time (along with no direct denial of drugs being involved in a 72-hour hotel stay.)
Sorry, all. But your credibility bullets have all been fired foolishly into the air.
DONUT 6: A fateful revelation ...
On a gameday, 5:59 p.m. is essentially the middle of an NBA player's workday. Much of this is done in private, not before TV cameras, not before glaring lights, not even before the accidental crossing of paths with a reporter.
On Friday, April 8, 2012, the accidental crossing of paths occurred. And that's when I realized how near the end of his Mavs stint Lamar Odom was ... and hell, maybe how near he was to succumbing to whatever bedevils him now.
It was 5:59 p.m. The Portland Trail Blazers were warming up on the game floor. Dirk Nowitzki was shooting up a sweat in the AAC basement. Assistant Monte Mathis was scribbling gameplan notes on Dallas' locker room greaseboard. It was the nuts-and-bolts of an NBA "midday'' and tipoff was 91 minutes away ...
And that's when I saw Lamar Odom strolling across the street from the W Hotel to his AAC office. Not hustling across the street because he was late; strolling, almost aimlessly, while hundreds of others who were part of the show that night -- coaches, players, support staff, ushers, you name 'em -- were doing their thing and in many cases picking up his slack.
Less than a day after this incident, Lamar Odom was dismissed from the Mavs.
DONUT 7: The lingering stench ...
"The Mavericks and I have mutually agreed that it's in the best interest of both parties for me to step away from the team," Lamar Odom said in a statement the next day. "I'm sorry that things didn't work out better for both of us, but I wish the Mavs' organization, my teammates and Dallas fans nothing but continued success in the defense of their championship."
In reality, of course, there was nothing "mutual'' about it. Odom was never with the Dallas Mavericks in spirit and from that day on wasn't with them in body ... but the stench lingers still.
He remained on the Mavs' books for that year, you know, and here's a little-known fact: The Mavs' commitment to him (and to winning that year, contrary to what so many critics continue to believe) is such that they waded into taxpayer status to have him, thus using up one of their three-years-in-five that they can pay tax without the repeater penalty coming into play.
DONUT 8: Forget the stats ...
Forget for a moment Odom's unfortunate stats: 6.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in 20.5 minutes per game while shooting 35.2 percent from the field and 25.2 percent on 3-pointers, all-career lows.
Consider the taxpayer decision and know that as much as anything, THAT's why he's a bust – one of the all-time busts in Dallas Mavericks history. The Mavs hoodwinked themselves in the trade to get him, hoodwinked themselves in not dumping him at that year's deadline, hoodwinked themselves with his tax-impacting salary, and hoodwinked themselves again when they traded him a way in an unfavorable deal.
Mavs management asked a handful of vets who'd just won a title and a bunch of newcomers on short-term deals to jump in a foxhole with Lamar Odom. ... and as we now know, even if Lamar is in that foxhole all by himself, he cannot stand the company.
DONUT 9: Who finally got rid of Lamar Odom? ...
The Mavs should take blame for misjudging Odom's character. I am often assured that the organization exhausted all resources in trying to aid him, physically as well as mentally and emotionally. That included everything from offers of counseling to allowing him to take 10 days off to deal with his ailing father to very deliberate efforts to make him feel "loved.''
When Lamar returned from his break, Dallas put him under the wing of respected special assistant Tim Grgurich -- so in a sense, the man had his own personal coach.
Coach Rick Carlisle singling out the player in public (something he does rarely) when he noted that Odom wasn't "playing his ass off.'' Rick tried it all. Tough love. Soft love. No love.
And Dirk love.
DONUT 10: Dirk's locker room ...
During that time, to be a part of a Dirk/Kidd/Jet locker room was a special privilege, and those three guys (certainly along with Cuban/Donnie/Rick) made it special. Even now, a locker room keynoted by Nowitzki is a special place with a special vibe.
Odom's run here ended when he ruined Dirk's vibe.
DONUT 11: 73 seconds ...
TMZ is now reporting that while Odom played for Dallas, he was doing cocaine and Oxycontin and that the remnants of that activity existed in a "Westin hotel in Memphis ... in March of 2012.''
Does that place and time ring a bell?
This is the 73-second piece of tape that truly haunts me as a Mavs follower. It is 73 seconds of what makes this such a horrid chapter in the franchise's history. It's was an insult to the defending champs and it exemplifies why Mark Cuban at halftime and then The UberMan in the postgame locker room confronted Odom in Memphis:
Lamar won't hustle. Won't run the play. Throws up an "I'm-high-on-crack'' shot. Bumps into a ref. Takes a seat on the floor. Remains on the floor while Memphis gets two shots off playing 4-on-5. ... and then is pulled from the game with a total of four minutes registered.
Seventy-three seconds of toxic garbage.
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
Was Lamar Odom uninspired, lazy and dishonest as a 2011 Dallas Mav because of crack? Did he ruin a locker room, crash the tax plans and embarrass the defending champs because of crack? Did he go missing, maybe ruin his marriage and maybe end his NBA career, because of crack?
If so, I am indeed about as surprised as I am sympathetic.
Khloe thinks that sort of attitude is mean, tweeting, "It's really hard to sit here and listen to people talk shit about my family! F*ck you and shame on you! I'm too protective for this shit!''
Khloe, if you are looking for sympathy, you have come to the wrong place. Why? The absence of credibility. The fact that when Mavs fans "talk shit'' about Lamar, that's the nicest stuff we can manage to say. And most of all, this:
It is estimated that over six million children in America live with at least one parent who has a drug addiction. Those six million children certainly don't have the avenues of rescue that are available to Lamar Odom. They don't have the Kardashians' money, they don't have the NBA's power, they don't have the Dallas Mavericks' support.
So I pray for Lamar Odom, yes. But he's in my Drug-Abuse Prayer Line behind six million children.