“Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me”
F. Scott Fitzgerald
In many ways the late, great Mr. Fitzgerald was spot-on when he wrote this line for his book “The Rich Boy” back in 1926. We see entertainers as well as professional athletes making millions of dollars and we believe that they are just about invulnerable. However even the richest people in the world have limitations. Money can not stave off death forever; for you or your loved ones. It also does not keep you from being at the wrong place at the worst possible time.
Dallas Mavericks forward Lamar Odom most likely was very glad when the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve and the calendar turned to 2012. Except for being named NBA Sixth Man last season; there were very few pleasant memories that he will carry from last year, both on and off the court. Basketball fans are well aware of the botched trade that almost sent Odom and Pau Gasol in a three-way trade to the Houston Rockets in a deal that would have put Chris Paul in a Lakers uniform. Odom was so upset at what he considered to be a betrayal by his former team that Los Angeles ended up just about giving him away to the Dallas Mavericks.
The events that took place in December however paled in comparison to what the veteran big man had to endure this past summer. Back in July, Odom would grieve as his 24-year-old cousin was murdered and just days later he would find himself the passenger in a car that would take the life of another young person. The vehicle had a collision with a motorcycle and a teenage pedestrian was killed in the accident.
Odom told “ESPN.com” that the tragic events shook him to his core; so much that he seriously contemplated taking an extended leave from the Association. The veteran said he truly was on the verge of walking away from the game; at least for a while; however he was convinced by his wife Khloe Kardashian not to give up the game he loves.
He told reporters “My wife talked me out of it. Cause I was asking myself: ‘Was I mentally prepared to play? If I didn’t play well, was I mentally prepared to help the team?’ I had thought, ‘Maybe I need a year.’ Because of the lockout, I thought, ‘Maybe somebody’s sending me a sign that I needed this time off.’ (But) when I told some of my friends and my family that I was thinking about steppin’ back for a minute, I think the reaction from the closest people to me kind of gave me the energy to get back at it. I got a son that loves the game. And there’s some things I still got to do to keep his love up. And a nephew. My nephew’s 11 and my son is 10 and they’re best friends. What I do is like no longer for myself. It’s for my family, for these kids in my neighborhood, for the kids that I take care of that are not mine. I’m gonna try to keep it going as long as I can play at a certain level.”
Odom will face his former team for the first time on Monday as the Mavericks travel to the Staples Center to take on the Lakers.