Lamar Odom mistakenly identifies himself as a ‘Los Angeles Laker’ (VIDEO)

Ball Don't Lie

Looking noticeably out of shape five weeks after camp started and seven months after the Dallas Mavericks asked him to leave their squad, forward Lamar Odom has started the 2012-13 season off with a whimper. The forward, who celebrates his 33rd birthday on Tuesday, has missed 12 of his 17 shot attempts on the season, registering a 29 percent shooting mark, with more turnovers (six) than assists (three) and more fouls (eight) than either. All in 49 minutes of play, spread out over four games.

And then, thanks to Pro Basketball Talk, we find this; taken from an interview during last month's media day:

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It's a simple mistake — Lamar has played just 234 games spread out over five seasons and counting for the Clippers, with his last two full years as a Clip hamstrung by injury and suspension. This is in comparison to 437 career games as a Laker spread out over seven years, campaigns that included two NBA titles, three trips to the Finals, and the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award in 2011. When his particular sun sets, we'll think forum purple and gold when we think of Lamar Odom, and the fantastic basketball we got to see during his time with the storied franchise.

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The Clippers are less storied. But if Odom continues on his downward spiral, and cannot find a way to both get into shape and contribute to a team that badly needs his all-around gifts, he'll be tacked on the end of the bench in ways that would seem to make his 50-game disappointment in Dallas last year seem like a decades-long conquest.

Since the Clippers selected him in the 1999 NBA draft — heck, well before the Clippers selected him that season — Odom has been one of our favorite players. He's easy to like, and when his game is on he's easy to love. The point of this post is not to poke fun at a one-second slip-up — we've all said "Stacy" when we were supposed to say "Sarah," and we've all said "OK, I'm in for a round of shots" when we meant to say, "no, I've got an early exam tomorrow." It happens.

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Please get it together, though, Lamar. It's hard to imagine 2012-13 being any worse than 2011-12, but so far it's looking that way. Happy birthday, and hurry back soon to becoming the LO of old.

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