"If I can turn and knock you out with my right hand, I've got to be able to make a layup, you know what I'm saying?"
I realize the season is only a day old, but we've got an early clubhouse leader for Quote of the Year, courtesy of Lamar Odom.
After Wednesday morning's practice in El Segundo, Odom riffed with the media about his offseason training program, which included a couple months of boxing work, complete with an animated, gum-popping, bob-and-weave of a demonstration. "When you look at those guys, they look like they're in pretty good shape. The ones that take it seriously. You have to be strong from your ankles to your neck, you know? To take a punch? Then I was thinking about the whole muscle memory thing. Right now, if I can turn and- boom!- knock you out with my right hand, I've got to be able to make a layup, you know what I'm saying?"
I think I do.
The same principle applies to grabbing boards. "Just training my body. Training the right side of my body."
Anyone who has ever done a boxing workout can vouch for the effectiveness, but just in case, LO then explained why it helped. The leg burning stance, the movement, adding the heavy gloves, and so on. He appreciated how the workouts gave him something "combative" that could be used to his advantage, particularly on the defensive end. "It made me think about competing at the highest level, one on one. Like warriors. It brings something out of you that I can't explain." He also hopes the footwork will help him on that end as well. "I wanted to be come a better defender. Maybe because we were getting Ron (Artest), I want to be able to complement him."
All kidding aside, lost in the hoopla surrounding him over the last 10 days or so is that Odom, never known as the Tony Little of the NBA's summer workout set, arrived for the start of camp in good shape, especially when compared to past years. It was a welcome development that didn't escape Phil Jackson's attention, not that it prevented the Zen Master from tweaking his power forward. "It's probably the only time he's worked out in the offseason," Jackson smiled, before noting that in fairness, circumstances (mostly related to surgeries and other medical issues) have often kept Odom from going all out over the summer.
PJ wouldn't credit the boxing, per se, for LO's improved fitness. "He could have done tai chi," Jackson said, noting with a grin that anything is better than nothing. Of course, now those sorts of zingers could put him on the wrong end of a right hook or a left jab.