Check your Mail!

CNN Time Free Email US Sports Baseball Pro Football College Football 1999 NBA Playoffs College Basketball Hockey Golf Plus Tennis Soccer Motorsports Womens More Inside Game Scoreboards World
EVENTS
MLB Playoffs
Rugby World Cup
Century's Best
Swimsuit '99

CENTERS
 Fantasy Central
 Inside Game
 Multimedia Central
 Statitudes
 Your Turn
 Teams
 Cities

AD PARTNERS

  Power of Caring
  presented by CIGNA


SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
 This Week's Issue
 Previous Issues
 Special Features
 Life of Reilly
 Frank Deford
 Subscriber Services
 SI for Women

FEATURES
 Trivia Blitz
 Free Email

TELEVISION
 CNN/SI - TV
 Turner Sports

SHOPPING
 CNN/SI Travel
 Golf Pro Shop
 MLB Gear Store
 NFL Gear Store

SI FOR KIDS
 Sports Parents
 Games
 Buzz World
 Shorter Reporter

SITE RESOURCES
 About Us
 myCNN
 
Pro Basketball

Basketball Scores & Recaps NBA Standings NBA Stats NBA Matchups NBA Almanac NBA Teams Players WNBA CBA

Something to prove

Unstoppable ... unpredictable, Clippers' Odom has it all

Click here for more on this story

Posted: Monday July 05, 1999 09:57 PM

  Lamar Odom The Clippers may have nabbed the most talented player in the draft in Lamar Odom. AP

LOS ANGELES (CNN/SI) -- Lamar Odom's list of attributes reads like a best seller.

At 6-10, he's got the size to go inside. He has fabulous touch from the perimeter. He blocks shots. Crashes the boards.

Longtime Temple coach John Chaney said he's never seen a player who was harder to defend. And while Odom's completely unselfish, he wants the ball with the game on the line.

"There were many NBA scouts in Rhode Island for his first game and after the game we all went out, had an O'Douls and sat down around a table," said Jeff Weltman, director of scouting for the Los Angeles Clippers. "One guys sits down and -- this is November -- he says, 'Whose going No. 2?

"That's how impressive he was."

How then did Lamar Odom slide to the Clippers with the fourth selection in Wednesday's NBA Draft?

It's because of the negative side of his ledger.

Odom went to three high schools. UNLV released him from a letter of intent because a discrepancy over test scores. He moved on to Rhode Island, actually entered the NBA Draft twice and tried to return to school both times.

 

He hired an agent, parted ways with him and then blew off scheduled workouts with several NBA teams, including the Chicago Bulls, who had the No. 1 pick

The Bulls didn't get the chance to talk with Odom until the eve of the draft. Coach Tim Floyd even had chartered a plane to meet Odom in Rhode Island -- only to get stood up when he got there.

"He's a guy who is very talented," said Floyd, whose Bulls opted for Duke's Elton Brand instead of Odom. "We were pleasantly surprised when we interviewed him as well. It was not a case of not liking Lamar Odom, but he did confuse us initially."

Odom, though, says he was just as confused himself.

"I just needed to step back and clear my head," said Odom, whose mother died when he was 12. "You know, I'm only 19 and a lot was happening real fast -- people coming from everywhere at you."

Still, Odom's pattern of immaturity, indecisiveness and irresponsibility sent up red flags to the teams picking high in the draft.

The Clippers spent as much time looking into Odom's off-court past as they did his on-court performance They concluded the potential rewards outweighed the risks.

"He's made mistakes, but there's not been anything, there's not been any serious troubles," Clippers coach Chris Ford said. "We're talking about maybe being late or something like that, changing minds or changing schools. But there's nothing in the kid's past that would say he's really an untouchable. He just needs a little bit of guidance and hopefully we can make sure that he gets that."

After months of indecision, Odom is convinced he's landed in the right place.

And how does he convince others that he belongs in the NBA?

"Just by being the best player I can be," Odom said. "All said aside, it's when one performs on the court -- and I think I've proved that. It's always negative when I'm not playing.

"But as soon as I step on the court and talk to the media, I get my point across. [Then when] people get to know me and people get a good feel for me, I think I really handle myself well and I come across really well."

The Clippers certainly hope so. Odom will now try to be a star and help turn around the worst franchise in NBA history.

And perhaps more importantly, he will attempt to become a man who finally makes a commitment -- and honors it.


 
Related information
Stories
Clippers take a chance on Odom
URI won't seek waiver to keep Odom in school
Odom wants to return to school
Multimedia
Chicago coach Tim Floyd says Lamar Odom confused the Bulls. (132 K)
Clippers coach Chris Ford says all Lamar Odom needs is a little guidance. (157 K)
Lamar Odom says he feels like he can take on any challenge. (70 K)
Lamar Odom says he has a lot of confidence in his future play and personality. (166 K)
Lamar Odom says he’s looking forward to his future of the Clippers. (76 K)
Clippers’ director of scouting Jeff Weltman says all the scouts were impressed with Lamar Odom from the beginning. (131 K)
Click here for the latest audio and video
Search our site Watch CNN/SI 24 hours a day

Sports Illustrated and CNN have combined to form a 24 hour sports news and information channel. To receive CNN/SI at your home call your cable operator or DirecTV.



To the top

Copyright © 1999 CNN/SI. A Time Warner Company.
All Rights Reserved.

Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.