Lamar Odom recalls legendary play at Gauchos Gym
Rain poured down on Rucker Park, but that wasn't going to dampen Lamar Odom's enthusiasm.
Everyone who surrounded New York City's legendary basketball court that day in 2003 had plenty of reason to feel excited. Rapper Jay-Z had assembled a street-ball basketball team to match up with Fat Joe's Terror Squad. The lineup featured a few NBA players, including Odom, while Jay-Z brought along Tracy McGrady and Antoine Walker and a high school phenom named LeBron James as a spectator. (He was drafted a week later by the Cleveland Cavaliers).
So even when the site was moved to Gauchos Gym, a buzz filled the area. And Odom gave the fans plenty of reason to remain hyped by performing a move that rocked the gym. Odom nearly duplicated a skip move Rafer Alston had perfected enough to earn the nickname, "Skip to My Lou." He crossed over and dribbled between his legs a few times as the announcer yelled over the loudspeaker: "He's got a skip to him! He's got a skip to him! What's he going to do? He's got some handle! He's being guarded!"
Soon enough, Odom appeared to drive to the basket, but he shifted his left hand and bounced the ball between a defender's legs. He then went around his opponent, picked the ball up and laid it in. Odom followed that move, which you can see in the video below, with a Harlem shake.
A few hours after I posted the clip (thanks to Silver Screen and Roll's theshmoes), a reporter mentioned to Odom after practice about the video and the conversation brought immediate flashbacks to that game. Odom may have miffed on the year it happened (he thought it took place in 2005), but he demonstrated his move before the assembled media just as he performed in the video above.
"I had a festive day, as you could see," Odom said, smiling. "That's my foundation of basketball and where I'm from, playing at the park."
Odom, of South Jamaica, Queens, N.Y., actually performed similar theatrics last week in London during the Lakers' 111-92 exhibition loss to Minnesota. Odom's two change-of-pace dribbles past Kevin Love resulted in an up-and-under layup. Later in the game, his high step over Michael Beasley led to a behind-the-back pass to Derek Fisher, though Fisher's three-point attempt was blocked. But he remains reluctant to make that a consistent part of his game.
"I don't think you want to show off the game too much," said Odom, who proposed that NBA All-Star weekend feature a game between the NBA All-Stars versus an all-star team from regulars at Rucker Park. "The perception, people will take it the wrong way like you're show boating. A lot of times where a guy's guarding you real tough, I can probably go between his legs and drag it back. A lot of times when you pull the move off, I think the referee, just for you doing it, they might call a travel."
For the complete story behind this game and how this led to a rift between Jay-Z and Fat Joe, watch the documentary below. It features plenty of details about Odom's participation around the 12:30 mark.
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