Odom Shoots the Summer Breeze
Two months without Lamar Odom’s musings is two months too long for Lakers.com, so we dialed up the lanky lefty for a summer catch-up conversation.
Here's a transcription of our phone conversation with Odom:
MT: Well Lamar, we haven’t had a chance to talk in a while, but at least you’ve been posting Twitpics of you and Denzel Washington or Wladimir Klitschko from your boxing training sessions.
Odom: Yeah man, I’ve been boxing in the gym where Denzel trains. I have a great trainer and it’s just waking muscles up in my body that I didn’t know I had.
MT: I can appreciate that, because while you’ve joked about playing QB in the NFL or pitching for the Dodgers, boxing might be the toughest sport there is...
Odom: It’s combative on a whole different level. You know what I mean? I don’t think people realize the shape boxers have to be in. It’s an incredible workout from your ankles to your neck. I love it. I was also hoping it might wake my right hand up … if I can throw a strong right hand, it might help me make a right-handed layup.
MT: Fair point. Is this the first time you’ve tried to punch things in an organized manner?
Odom: It is the first time I’ve boxed, but I’ve always had an appreciation for the fight game. I’ve always followed it, and the hand-eye coordination you need is incredible. You have to have great lateral movement and be really strong in your core, which is similar to basketball.
MT: I’m trying to picture what kind of fighter you’d be, Lamar. At 6-10, you’ve got certainly got the length handled. What’s your reach, anyway? You measured it?
Odom: Nah … but I’d say … long (insert big Lamar laugh).
MT: Ha, I’d say so. Long, to quite long.
Odom: Right? But I have a hell of a jab right now, I’m telling you. I jab with my left, so they’d call me a converted southpaw. I keep my chin cocked, ready for war, and I’m learning how to turn that right-handed punch over. So I’ll work off the jab, throw in the left hook, you know. It’s pretty fun. Just to learn something new and different because I love learning new things.
MT: So are you more of an endurance fighter, where you’re using your jab and your quickness to wear someone down, or are you trying to set up the haymaker like Manny Pacquiao put on Ricky Hatton?
Odom: I’m more of a boxer, definitely not someone who throws haymakers that much. I’d box until I turned the right punch over to knock ‘em out.
MT: Wait a second LO, have you been nailed in the face? Hope not?
Odom: No no, I haven’t sparred. I just use it as a workout. I think I’m going to stay away from the sparring, man.
MT: Pshew. I was going to say, we want to make sure you’re not stepping in there with a heavyweight and getting hit in the eye so Mitch and Phil don’t have to worry...
Odom: Nah, nah nah. I’m not going to do that. No worries, just an incredible workout is all.
MT: How’s Denzel doing, anyway?
Odom: Well you know he’s a New Yorker, so we talk a little Yankees, a little Lakers. I try to do my Denzel impersonation: “King Kong ain’t got nothin’ on me!” from “Training Day.” Denzel’s a cool guy. Some of the people that sit right on the floor that support us all year round, to see them away from the court is fun. Denzel’s a person I look up to because he’s great at what he does, one of the best.
MT: What else is going on in your world?
Odom: A lot of rest, mostly. I took some time off, but now I’m back in the gym getting ready to try and win our second title. But other than that, my clothing line – Rich Soil – is doing really well.
MT: I was going to ask you about your clothing line, because we talked a lot about clothes last season in various interviews, such as when we sat down and you detailed your love for Capri pants.
Odom: Haha, 100 percent not! Come on. The Capri look, I’m not into it for the guys. But we have some cool clothes at richsoilclothing.com. We’re getting ready for a fashion show/convention in Las Vegas, but mostly I’m trying to rest and get ready for camp.
MT: It’s now been over two months since you won your first championship. What comes to mind first as you reflect on it?
Odom: Just the whole process. It’s incredible how the mind works, because we put that mindset in place in the beginning of the year, that we were going to win the championship. That was in the air. We used to bring it in and say, “1, 2, 3 Ring!” before games, and that’s what we made happen. It wasn’t a surprise for us, even though it was a surreal feeling, and I just want to be able to taste it again. Once you get there, you can’t imagine doing anything else.
MT: Any TV in the summer?
Odom: I haven’t really been into TV at all. In the summer time, it’s baseball*. Now we’re into the Little League World Series, my favorite, and football’s starting soon, but that’s about all I watch.
MT: So I grew up in Minnesota, but was born in upstate New York and raised on both the Yankees and Twins. Alas, over the years, I’ve taken a lot of heat for my Yankees love. Everyone likes to hate us.
Odom: Well, it’s cool. The Yankees are a team that is easy to follow because of their tradition. There are a lot of Lakers fans that are not from L.A., and a lot of Cowboys fans that aren’t from Dallas. You know what I mean?
MT: True, but don’t you think I can claim New York because of my family connection there?
Odom: Of course. Of course you can.
MT: I appreciate that. Thank you.
Odom: Plus, everybody likes guys in a well-dressed suit, that’s why they put the pinstripes in the Yankees uniform.
MT: Good point. I must admit, New York and Minnesota have nothing on the beaches out here in Los Angeles…
Odom: As a matter of fact, I rode my bike from Marina del Rey to Malibu the other day.
MT: Marina del Rey to Malibu, Lamar?? That’s like 20 miles!
Odom: Right before Malibu, where the path stops. Ha. You know.
MT: Well … OK. That’s pretty far, still. I’ll bike from the Marina to Manhattan Beach sometimes, which is like eight miles, and that’s no small trek.
Odom: Yeah. It was a good ride. But I love the beach. I go down and rent a mountain bike, then get busy.
MT: That’s a pretty heavily-trafficked area that you’re biking through. I know people are recognizing you.
Odom: People love the Lakers, you know what I’m saying? They appreciate what we did, and we did it for the city. I get my share of love … I’ve been in L.A. since 1999.
MT: I believe it. You told me before we started recording that you’re at lunch right now eating a Greek salad, a turkey burger, pita bread and lemonade … But have I ever told you that I’ve been the No. 1 supporter of Hershey’s Cookies and Cream candy bar for about seven years now? I didn’t know until this season that it was your favorite, and wondered if my respect and love for the bar was the impetus behind your getting involved?
Odom: Haha, that definitely wasn’t it. That definitely wasn’t it. But it is my favorite, and is my focal point when I’m at the gas station or the grocery store.
MT: With you. Hey let’s talk about when you first met Ron Artest in Queens.
Odom: Our friendship started at age 12 when we started playing for the same basketball program, Brooklyn-Queens Express. That brought us together and we’ve been friends ever since. We’re from two different parts of Queens – which is the biggest borough of New York City. I’m from Jamaica Queens, and he’s from Long Island City, a historic housing project called Queens Bridge. It’s a big basketball community and a small one at the same time, so it was a really special opportunity for me to play with Elton (Brand, also from New York, for the Clippers) and (Ron signing in L.A.) is one of the reasons why I stayed put.
MT: OK LO, final topic today: Twitter. You do a really good job of connecting with your fans from your @RealLamarOdom account.
Odom: I like it because the person that you would consider a fan that you usually don’t get to talk to, you can interact with him or her. I think that’s important to what we do. If you’re a popular person who’s known by name or face, it’s cool to be able to participate. It really brings people together.
MT: No argument here. So Lamar, if I see a 6-10 bald dude on a mountain bike next time I hit the beach path, I’ll make sure to say hello.
Odom: That’s right. Take care Mike.