Good teammate: Lamar Odom
January, 13, 2011
By Henry Abbott
Mike Trudell of the Lakers' official website wrote a huge story about how marriage has changed Lamar Odom. It's predictably sunny, but also loaded with insight. One of my favorite parts of the story is this anecdote, which is an example of the kind of behavior that's vitally important to building a great team, but horrendously undervalued in how we assess players.
A few years ago, [Luke] Walton lost a close friend from college, leaving him "all messed up in the head," he said. Walton didn't tell anybody about it, and says he was simply out of it. Odom approached him wanting to talk, but Walton wasn't ready and continued to hold it in. Insistent, Odom pulled Walton aside, and eventually got Walton to join him for a beer to discuss whatever Odom sensed was bothering his buddy.
"He told me different personal stuff about his life, and by the time we got done hashing it out, I felt way better," said Walton. "Lamar left, and I was just like, 'Wow.' He didn't have to do that. I hadn't even told him there was anything wrong with me. He just perceived how I was acting.
"For someone to go through as much as he has in his life, to still be that guy who is always smiling, always making sure other people are happy, really shows what kind of person he is."