Lamar Odom has slowly become more a public presence in the months since his October overdose at a Nevada brothel, appearing at events such as Kanye West's February music-fashion event and the Kardashians' Easter Sunday gathering. But Odom had not yet appeared where he had his greatest professional success — as a Los Angeles Lakers forward at Staples Center.
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That changed on Wednesday when the Lakers hosted the Miami Heat for Kobe Bryant's final game against Dwyane Wade. As first reported by ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, Bryant left a pair of tickets for his former teammate Odom. The two-time champion showed up and was seen around the arena talking with team officials and other fans.
Lamar Odom walking into the Staples Center. Amazing. Told me he is feeling good. pic.twitter.com/9QoK9Na1pO
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) March 31, 2016
Lamar Odom is back at Staples Center for tonight's Lakers-Heat game. pic.twitter.com/YzerbhiFiQ
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) March 31, 2016
Lamar Odom at Lakers vs. Heat pic.twitter.com/gMvwhVL4Q5
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) March 31, 2016
Bryant considers Odom one of his closest teammates and has shown lots of respect for him since their days playing together. He also visited him with general manager Mitch Kupchak on the night of his hospitalization. (The Lakers were in Las Vegas for an exhibition game.) Byron Scott and Metta World Peace spoke about Bryant and Odom's relationship in October. From Bill Oram of the Orange County Register:
“He’s very close to Lamar,” Scott said. “Loves him like a brother. So, it’s just a rough time for Kobe dealing with that. This is probably the first time he’s had a teammate that’s gone through something like this.” [...]
“Kobe’s amazing,” World Peace said. “Kobe left right after the game; he went to go visit Lamar and stayed there with him, and I thank him.”
Given that bond, It's likely that Bryant would have left Odom tickets for any game he had requested.
Odom saw a pretty good game at Staples, although Kobe played just nine minutes before leaving with what the Lakers called "general soreness." They did just fine without him, pushing Miami to overtime and winning 102-100 on a Julius Randle lay-in in the closing seconds.
Kobe and Lamar spent some time together after the game, as well:
Kobe got to spend time with Lamar after the game, saying it was like “old times” for the two friends. Talked trash, joked and everything.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) March 31, 2016
Here's hoping Odom is able to make it out to another game or two at Staples before Kobe calls it a career.
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