Here’s an unofficial list of all the interviews Lamar Odom did today about a tragedy most of us can’t comprehend:
He sat for a 10-minute press conference with all the writers and television reporters assembled. Then he did one-on-one interviews with Channels 7 and 2 separately. Then he sat down with Sports Illustrated, followed by a reporter writing for the Lakers magazine. After that, he talked for 20 minutes with the Loose Cannons, then taped an interview for a second show on 570-AM.
I talked to him for five minutes after that. It was two hours after the press conference started. My colleague, Mike Bresnahan from the Times, was up next when I left. There’s a reason why Lamar might be the most gracious player in the NBA, and why so many people were devastated to hear the news about his infant son Jayden’s death in June.
Nobody asked about basketball or building off what he did at the end of last season. There will be plenty of time for that in training camp.
By Ross Siler
EL SEGUNDO–By his own admission, Lamar Odom has no way of knowing where his emotions will be when he plays the most meaningful game of his life on Dec. 15.
On what would have been his son Jaydens first birthday, Odom will find himself on the basketball court playing for the Lakers against the Houston Rockets at Staples Center.
“I might shoot it from half-court, Odom said, “just to see if hes with me that night.
Three months have passed since 6 1-2 month-old Jayden Joseph Odom died without warning, apparently suffocating in his crib while sleeping. The days since have not gotten any easier for the Lakers forward, who spoke Thursday about the tragedy.
Odom walked into a room full of reporters carrying a Bible and wearing a T-shirt with a face of Jesus Christ that he commissioned an artist to design. Through the worst time of his life, Odom has tried to find strength in religion.
“I feel a little lost sometimes, Odom said, “but God right now is keeping me strong.
Odom, who has an older son and daughter, was at home in New York attending the funeral of an aunt when Jayden died. As fate would have it, his sons death came on the same date – – June 28 – – as that of Odoms grandmother when he was growing up.
Although he is only 26, Odom has experienced the deaths of his mother, grandmother and now infant son.
For a time this summer, Odom questioned whether he would play this season. His sons death all but sapped his will, with Odom saying Thursday he still hasnt taken his own time to mourn.
He withdrew from USA Basketballs training camp to stay close to his family. He came into his own the second half of last season, averaging 16.3 points, 9.2 rebounds and 5.9 assists after the All-Star break as the Lakers made the playoffs.
Now Odom will need to get in shape and get back to playing the game during training camp, which opens Tuesday. But he said being surrounded by teammates and coaches would be the best thing for him.
“Its funny because I think its going to make me a better basketball player, as far as the mental approach to the game, Odom said. “I take my time right now, more than ever, at everything I do.
Odom said he also had a talk with Kobe Bryant that helped his state of mind. Bryant shared his experiences playing through the ordeal of a sexual-assault allegation, when sometimes he didnt want to eat, let alone play basketball.
“He had to persevere and channel that onto the court, Odom said. “Right now, thats kind of where Im at.
Odom poured his energy this summer into brokering a record deal for a cousin and designing a clothing line around the image of Christ he wore Thursday.
The depiction of Christ came from Revelation 1:14 – – hair like white wool, eyes like a flaming fire – – and Odom said he was going to put it on polo shirts and jeans as well. He joked about never wanting to see another “Scarface shirt in the NBA again.
There also were his agonizing stories of reading Jaydens autopsy report, where the death was described as “unremarkable, and of the open casket funeral he decided to hold. So many people at the funeral, Odom said, were seeing his son for the first time.
The rest of Odoms life will be a tribute to Jayden. He said the first thing he thought after he saw his sons body was that people fail to realize babies are the closest thing to angels in the world.
“I kind of realized maybe there was some sacrifice in that, Odom said, “maybe for me to see things in a different perspective.