Lamar Odom's media day Q&A
Programming note: We'll be hosting a live chat at 1 p.m. to talk about media day, training camp and anything else. To get in, click the link and go to "sports chat."
Some talk from LO during media day. He's still on the mend from his off-season shoulder injury and seems likely to miss most (if not all) of the preseason. But Laker fans will gladly accept him skipping games that don't count if it means an accelerated return for the games that do. Hopefully, the wait won't be too long. In the meantime, Odom remains an introspective and often candid interview. This year, however, the head churning out his thoughts will be decorated with some festive (and ambitious) designs. Here's what he had to say.
Q: How is your recovery coming along?
Lamar Odom: Everything is cool. It takes some time. That's exactly what I have to do is take some time. Hopefully, I'll be back on the court (soon).
Q: How do you think Derek Fisher is going to help the team?
LO: D. Fish is a quarterback. You need one of those, especially one that knows the offense. He's comfortable with the offense, so there's no learning process for him. He definitely has heart. He doesn't mind taking the big shot. He's defensive-minded. I'm just looking forward to being out there and playing some backcourt minutes with him.
Q: Besides just giving 100%, what's your biggest goal for the season?
LO: I'd like to be an All-Star. I'm definitely gonna work toward it. To advance in the playoffs. It's important for all of us if we want to keep this team together.
Q: Staying healthy would help all of that. You were getting close to making the All-Star team, in some people's minds, before you got hurt.
LO: That's part of it. That kind of happens. That's the life of a sportsman, you know what I'm saying. You can be in shape. Look at Kwame. He's got one of, probably the best, body in the NBA. It's not like he was out of shape. Sometimes it just happens. Luke works really hard and he was hit by the injury bug. So was myself. It happens. We just have to get over it, move forward, focus on this year and hope I can have the best year of my life, as far as basketball is concerned.
Q: Is there anything Kobe needs to say to his teammates, as far as mending any fences?
LO: No. We're all professionals. We're gonna go out and play basketball the best way we know how and try to win as many games as possible. Personal emotions are exactly what they are: personal. So I don't think so.
Q: Do you think this team has what it takes to get past the first round of the playoffs?
LO: I think so. We were hurt and beat up last year and we still made it to the playoffs. We were 23-10 before I got hurt.
AK: Given everything that happened to you off the court last season (in particular, the passing of Odom's infant son, Jayden), how much did you need this off-season just to recharge?
LO: That's exactly what it was for me. Off ... season. Time off. From everything. I tried to spend time being a father, which to me is the most important thing in the world. Before basketball. I got time to do that. Focus. My kids, they all live in New York, so it's not easy for me to be away from them for six months. Of course, I look forward to (basketball), but there's always a little void that's there that basketball can't really fill. But I also have a job and I understand that.
AK: So in a lot of ways, you truly need these off-seasons for yourself?
LO: Yeah. I have a 6-year-old son who asks about his brother every day. I definitely don't mind taking the time away from basketball and the politics of the game, you would say. Just being home with my family.
Q: How important is that for you to recharge those batteries?
LO: For me, it's very important. I've been through a lot for a young man. I'm only 27. I've seen a lot. Some would say I've been through it all. But hopefully, the best is yet to come on and off the court.
Q: Other guys say you're the funniest guy on the team. Why is that?
LO: Because I'm always Lamar. I like to keep my guys loose. Camaraderie is very important to me. I'm an only child, so these dudes are my brothers. With some of them, the guys who've been here since I've been here, you become family. It's important to me to keep good energy in a locker room, because it's something that can be redundant. You do the same thing over and over and over.
Q: I heard you have nicknames for everybody. What are they?
LO: I can't tell you, because that's locker room stuff. No offense, but a lot of things that go on in a locker room is supposed to stay in a locker room. I think that's probably why they trust me, as well. You just made me feel good, because it's important for me for them to look at me like that.
Q: Can you explain the stars shaved in your head?
LO: I was real close to having an All-Star (season) last year, then I got bit by the injury bug. So (the guy who cuts my hair) told me I was going to have an All-Star season this year, so he put a star on my head. He put two of them.
Q: Are you going to keep them?
LO: Yeah, this is going to be my look.
AK: Is it tough maintaining a star? How do you go about keeping it looking good?
LO: My hair basically kind of grows. It doesn't grow the way I want it to, but I get a haircut every two or three days. I gotta keep my look up, you know what I'm saying? I gotta stay sharp. I don't think it'll be hard to maintain. I'm bringing him to Hawaii just so I can try to maintain it.
BK: How hard would it be for me to do something like that? (To those who don't know, BK is a member of the shaved-dome club.)
LO: It would be easy. You could do it.
BK: I think I'm going to have a good season writing.
LO: Yeah. That's what I'm talking about. I'll definitely hook you up.
Q: Where do you go for a haircut?
LO: He comes to me (laughs, jokingly puffs shoulders out like a big shot).
BK: I worry that the kind of guy I can afford to bring to my house wouldn't be able to pull off the star.
Q: Kobe just said that he's going to demand more from every player. He's here to win. Does that have the makings for maybe as fun a season as you could have?
LO: No. That wouldn't be anything different. That's part of his personality. That's how he approaches the game as well.
Q: He seemed very intense and emphatic about demanding more from every player.
LO: We all know what happened this off-season. I'm not surprised. As a leader, the position he has on this team, he should.
Q: As a team, do you think there should be a sit-down when you're in Hawaii?
LO: No. No. No. No. No. He didn't say you better trade this guy or you better trade that guy or you need to trade this guy. He didn't say that at all. He mentioned himself. You can't be mad at that. That was a personal emotion. That's exactly what that is. It's personal and it should stay that way. We're still cool.
(To clarify, I don't know if Lamar was referring to things Kobe said to the legitimate media -- as opposed to a couple random jackasses in a parking lot -- forgot about "The Kobe Video" or was simply trying to breeze past it. But obviously, there is evidence contradicting that statement.)
Q: Do you think he should sit down with Jerry Buss, Mitch Kupchak, maybe even Andrew Bynum?
LO: Oh, man. That's way out of my hands. You went way over my head. Kobe Bryant means a lot to this franchise, so however he wants to handle that, I'm going with it.
Q: Do you think there are any hurt feelings among his teammates?
LO: I don't think so.
Q: You probably wouldn't tell us if there were, though.
LO: Probably not (laughs).
Q: Every time there was a trade rumor, your name came up.
LO: I can play. And a lot of times, I take it as a compliment that other teams know what's up. As well as the Lakers. I don't have nothing to prove, because I do it every night.