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Lamar Odom opens up to Playboy on NBA topics and marriage to Khloe Kardashian

January 18, 2011 |  4:37 pm


Lakers forward Lamar Odom is as open a book as you can get. Ranging from his early childhood adversities in losing his grandmother and mother, his marriage to Khloe Kardashian or his on-court play, he's fairly forthcoming on any subject.

That's why it shouldn't be surprising that an interview with Playboy led Odom to talk so openly about his marriage, his playing days for the Clippers and whether Kobe Bryant is better than LeBron James.

Among the highlights:

On how marrying Khloe has changed him: "Men, most of the time our goal is to have what we want when it comes to women. . . . Most men like more than one woman. A lot of them would not want to admit that because that might not be cool, right? Most people don’t want to get married. Being married, that’s a responsibility. I always used to tell that to women. I don’t want a girlfriend because that means I’ve got a responsibility. I have a responsibility to call you. I have a responsibility not to be with another woman. I have a responsibility to be there on time when you need me. With her I was like, If I do what I normally do, I’m going to lose her. And if I lose her, I think it’s going to hurt a lot. Right then and there I knew. We were together every day."

On accusations their love is fake, and their marriage is a “PR stunt": “That’s just how gossip works, you know? You can’t stop it. Because at the time, with us being so successful — me in basketball and her show doing so well — it was too big. It was too huge. It caught people off guard. It looked as though we had too much to gain. That let me know, damn, it’s a big deal. Even the wedding was big. The list of her family friends was crazy. Those were her people showing up, showing their love. For some people that was too much to even think about. And it was quick. I guess that just added to the speculation — ‘Why can’t they wait?’I didn’t want to wait.”

On how his life changed when his mother died of colon cancer when he was 12: “I probably got closed off. My concentration level changed. School was just something I would not concentrate on. I wouldn’t allow myself to. I became detached. I got in touch with a cold side I probably wouldn’t have gotten in touch with or maybe would’ve at a later age. I have that kamikaze button in me now where I can cut things off maybe a little too easily.”

On his initial NBA experience in L.A. after being drafted by the Clippers: “Rock and roll. When I was in L.A., I was 19. I was probably the most noticeable player, even though we had some good players on that team, some talent. . . . In L.A., we can’t be as good as the Lakers, so I was getting all the love the Clippers were getting. It was a learning process, learning how to deal with success. Smoking pot, doing things I shouldn’t have been doing.”

On who is the NBA’s best — Kobe Bryant or LeBron James: “It’s hard to say who’s the best. Last year you would have given it to Kobe, and three years ago of course he won the MVP . . . even though my dude LeBron is having another extraordinary year, Kobe is skilled. He’s at the point in his career where he doesn’t have to average the most points. People think whoever averages the most points is the better player. They’re both playing at high levels and they’re both incredible players, but I always have to go with the home team.”

--Mark Medina

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Photo: Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom will have a weekly reality show on E! network with a 'funny, sitcom-ish' feel, Odom said. Credit: Chris Pizzello / Associated Press