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Thursday, March 22, 2012
Kobe Bryant: Booing Lamar Odom 'just stupidity'

By Tim MacMahon

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant wouldn't specify what he told slumping former teammate Lamar Odom on Wednesday.
DALLAS -- There are no longer scattered boos for Lamar Odom at the American Airlines Center. The boos come in a chorus.

“That’s just stupidity,” Kobe Bryant said.

Bryant appeared to give his former teammate a pick-me-up sort of speech after the Lakers’ lopsided win Wednesday night over the Mavericks. Bryant spoke into Odom’s ear for several seconds, patted him on the chest and hugged him at the end of the one-sided conversation.

“None of your business what I said,” Kobe snapped when asked about the chat.

The boos, which were especially loud after Odom bricked a free throw in the second quarter, prompted Khloe Kardashian to share his feelings with the six-plus million people who follow her on Twitter. She felt the need to stand up for her husband while watching for her usual seat behind the Mavs’ television broadcast crew.

Positive energy goes a long way.... This crowd needs to figure out who they are routing for! Let's go Mavs!!!!

— KhloéKardashianOdom (@KhloeKardashian) March 22, 2012


That was how one tweet from Khloe read, and it was followed by another:

Everyone/anyone is entitled and expected to miss a basket but either way the positive energy will fuel these Mavs!!!! We got this!

— KhloéKardashianOdom (@KhloeKardashian) March 22, 2012


Debate the cause and effect if you wish, but Odom didn’t provide Mavs fans any inspiration to create positive energy. His one-point, one-rebound, one-assist, one-steal outing was lackluster even by the low standards Odom has established this season.

Kobe insists it isn’t all Odom’s fault that the multiskilled forward’s numbers are career lows almost across the board.

“It’s tough,” Bryant said. “He comes to a team that’s pretty much set, you know what I mean? So it’s hard for him to find his niche. The fans, they don’t really understand what he does or how he can do it, you know what I mean?

“I hope they don’t unlock that mystery. I know. I know how to use him and to use his skill set and this, that and the other. But with this team, the roster that they had being pretty much set, it’s tough for him to be able to find his groove here.”

Bryant playfully said that he is “pleasantly surprised” that Odom hasn’t found a way to be productive for the Mavs yet. Kobe added that Bryant is a player that needs to be featured, not just plugged into a system.

“Of course I had a lot of fun with those guys,” Odom said of the Lakers, “but I’m here now and I have to focus on winning games and finding out how to fit my game to help this team down the stretch.”

The problem with Kobe’s theory: How do you feature somebody who is playing scared? Odom, who is shooting .345 from the floor after a 9-of-40 funk over the last seven games, looks like a guy who wants no part of having the ball in his hands.

“As a shooter, as a player, if you get a little hesitant, it's over,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “Once you start thinking in this game, that's tough.”

It’s been tough for Odom since he arrived from L.A. It’ll get even tougher if he lets the boos go to his head.