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Penny Marshall, according to TMZ, was duped out of $5,000 by someone pretending to be Lamar Odom’s assistant

Kelly Dwyer
Ball Don't Lie

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Penny Marshall and Lamar Odom celebrate Marshall's birthday ... in 2006 (Getty Images)

Did a shyster pretending to be Lamar Odom's personal assistant dupe actor/director and noted NBA fan Penny Marshall out of a good chunk of change? To hear TMZ tell it, this appears to be the case; though we are probably as dubious as our readers when dealing with TMZ reports, and the idea that this scoop reminds of the "Family Guy" style of pop culture comedy — fill in the blanks with two slightly related public figures into a story, toss in a felony, shake, and serve.

Here's TMZ's take, as offered early on Tuesday:

Sources tell TMZ the double-cross started at a Lakers game last month ... when a man claiming to be LO's assistant gave Penny a phone number he said was Lamar's. We're told Penny and the person she thought was Lamar texted back and forth for several days -- when finally "Lamar" asked her to loan his assistant a chunk o' cash. Ever the faithful Lakers fan, Penny forked over more than five grand to the faux "assistant."

The "assistant" and "Lamar" both stopped responding to Penny soon after. Concerned, according to TMZ, Marshall went to the LAPD, who have since opened up a grand theft investigation.

However much of this is true doesn't bode well for either party. Odom played for the Los Angeles Clippers from 1999 to 2003, an era that saw Marshall attend just as many (if not more) Clipper games as she did Laker games. Odom was the team's star attraction for half of that time, so it's odd that the two would not have come into contact with each other more often, much in the same way that she has commiserated with stars from other Clippers, Lakers or even opposing teams.

Odom returned via trade to Los Angeles to play with the Lakers in 2004, after just one season away, with Marshall taking in quite a few Laker games along the way. For her to reach out to Odom some 13 years after he was drafted by the Clippers, after having seen him play live countless times for both Los Angeles franchises, and six years after the above picture was taken? It either looks like dodgy reporting from TMZ, or a very, very embarrassing incident for Marshall — a comedic legend from one of the more respected families in the industry.

To summarize: For Penny Marshall to be reaching out for a phone number of a player she saw play dozens or possibly hundreds of times live between 1999 and 2011 in May of 2012, months after Odom's trade from Los Angeles and banishment from the Dallas Mavericks, seems like a stretch at best for TMZ or sad at worst for Penny. A woman that, any NBA star or fan or coach will tell you, is about as sweet a person as exists in Hollywood or elsewhere.

To toss in the part about giving $5,000 away to a stranger? That is, obviously, making things even worse.

Marshall's representatives, unsurprisingly, have not commented on the report.

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