Once again the Dallas Mavericks played the Los Angeles Lakers, and once again Lamar Odom disappeared. Only this time he didn't even play, attending to a family matter with wife Khloe Kardashian. Is he avoiding Kobe Bryant?
Odom inactive and misses Dallas Mavericks loss to Los Angeles Lakers
For the second time in a month, the defending champion Mavericks played the Lakers in a rematch of the western conference divisional playoffs last season. One person who didn't talk about it, in fact a person who hasn't spoken to the Lakers or media at all in both contests, is Odom. Still bitter about Los Angeles trading him back in December, his excuse the first game for not talking to his old teammates was obvious if tad childish. The second time around, the 6'10" bench man didn't even play, citing family matters. His absence, while not critical, contributed to his old teammate Bryant leading the Lakers in a gutsy win over Dallas. While it's hard to question Lamar Odom for missing one game, is he using Khloe Kardashian or other family members as mere excuses so he doesn't have to talk to Kobe Bryant and his old teammates? The likelihood is very low, of course. Odom is a consummate professional, but his continuing struggles off the Mavericks bench (averaging 7.7 points and 4.5 rebounds a game) bring up questions of pride.
Khloe & Lamar bonded with Kobe and Vanessa Bryant during three NBA titles
In seven seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, Odom became the best bench player in the NBA and helped Bryant win three of his five championship rings. He and Khloe were good friends with the Lakers leader and his soon-to-be ex-wife Vanessa Bryant. Now that their group has broken up, Lamar might still have too many memories of the glory days. He wouldn't talk to his old buddies in Los Angeles, and now he won't even play them in Dallas. Bryant meanwhile continues overcoming the media circus surrounding his Lakers to lead them to gritty victories. Not even Vanessa or the Pau Gasol trade talk has stopped his march towards the playoffs. What does he think of the Odom question? No one can know since he hasn't mentioned his old friend since he left for the Dallas Mavericks in December.
Lamar Odom isn't a coward. He's married to Khloe Kardashian after all. But like any normal person, he can't help feeling resentful of how the Lakers keep winning while he sinks into mediocrity in Dallas. Kobe Bryant didn't comment on why Odom missed the game, clearly too busy winning and juggling his own family matters with Vanessa Bryant. A family matter can be anything, even an excuse. Did Lamar play NBA hooky? Probably not. But given it was the Lakers game, it does raise suspicions.