Delonte West eats with lions at the zoo?
Mavericks forward Lamar Odom joined guard Delonte West on Monday afternoon at the Dallas Zoo with 30 Metroplex elementary and middle school students who were selected as Mavs Academic All-Stars for their hard work and exceptional grades in the classroom.
Just a few hours earlier Monday afternoon, Odom spoke to the media after the Mavs' practice and said that boos during Wednesday's home game against the Lakers were "confusing" and "hurtful." He found the audience at the zoo to be a little less brash, although he wasn't particularly fond of the gator or the hefty snake.
"I kept my distance, but it was pretty cool," Odom said. "That’s what it’s all about, coming out here and getting to know your community. Of course, this is my first time out here. It’s my first year here in Dallas and just getting out, getting to know people is what it’s all about."
West seemed to thoroughly enjoy his first visit to the Dallas Zoo. His right hand was free of a bandage. The ring finger he gruesomely fractured Feb. 15 and needed surgery on a few days later remains a bit swollen and stiff, but he was more than ready to interact with the students and, well, the animals for that matter.
"Well, I think they noticed as soon as I came into the zoo my natural animal instinct, you know what I mean?" Delonte said, speaking of the actual animals. "I got a chance to eat with the lions, you know? They had Lamar playing with the penguins, but they needed me for the more animalistic-type of things, carnivore-type of things. So, I also had a chance to give birth to a baby cheetah today and I’m just overwhelmed with the experience to be amongst my own and my peers."
|Mavs G Delonte West dishes on his trip to the zoo, how close he is to returning to the court, sympathizing with Lamar Odom and more. |
West, 28, was quite engaged during the conservation program and he and Odom interacted with the attentive, young learners.
"It shows you the education system has definitely grown," West said. "They were right on. Every question that the specialists and professionals were asking they were right on. A couple of them took my answers. The kids were very intelligent and asking intelligent questions. I was very impressed."
West, who grew up in Washington D.C., was asked if he spent much time at the zoo as a youngster.
"I just ran out in the woods, whatever I could find take it home as a pet," West said, again stretching the boundaries of fact into pure fiction. "I had a pet raccoon once. No, I took my few field trips to the zoo, but like I said, I think we’re getting ready to go see some of the lions and gorillas, my own kind and hopefully we can have a nice bonding experience and they will accept me as the pack leader."
Although it is doubtful that West will be ready to return to the lineup Tuesday against the Houston Rockets, it is presumed that he will be in the building and not the new king of a pride.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.
Play Podcast Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.
Play Podcast Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.
Play Podcast Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.
Play Podcast ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.
Play Podcast Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.
Play Podcast ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.