Since I started SbB in 2001, I’ve probably done more interviews about the Khloe Odom debacle then any single subject we’ve ever covered. So in hearing such a wide variety of perspectives from myriad media members about it, I’ve concluded that most people, at least publicly, are severely overestimating the decision-making capacity and base intelligence of Lamar Odom. (I know, harsh. But hear me out.)
The whole thing is so unbelievable to the mainstream sports media that it has been astonishingly slow in covering the imminent marriage ceremony. It’s almost as if editorial behind-the-sceners at ESPN and the L.A. Times and Daily News keep saying, “this can’t be happening. It’s got to be a joke.”
Myself, I’ve had several media members who know Odom professionally tell me that he’s a really a smart guy. That he can’t be this stupid. One national print journo said to me, “he can’t be this dumb.”
So, what does Odom have to do to prove to the people who cover him that he’s an idiot, light himself on fire?
As a team play-by-play announcer for 10 years, I traveled with high-profile athletes every day, and I never, ever claimed to really know them. All you have to do is look at someone like former MLB player Al Martin to understand what I’m talking about.
The Pittsburgh and San Diego media covered him every day, eight months out of the year for over a decade, yet when the news broke that Martin had multiple wives and led a crazy, deviant lifestyle, none of the Pirates and Padres beat writers had any clue. In fact, they’ll tell you to this day that Martin was a good guy. And in the clubhouse, in the hotel and on the team plane, I’m sure that’s an accurate assessment.
The same principle is at work with Odom. I’ve interviewed him on more than one occasion, and he’s a wonderful guy to interact with in the locker room. The media love him, so you get the kind of coverage we’re getting with the Khloe Odom thing - that is, no coverage. Complete pass, though we all know what a horrific decision he is making.
If this were a one-time deal with Odom, then perhaps I guess I could give him a pass too. But what about earlier this summer, when his (fake, ego-driven) holdout cost him millions? I have it on very, very good authority that Odom’s holdout was entirely his idea, and if not for his agent Jeff Schwarz repairing things with Lakers Owner Jerry Buss, Odom would be suiting up in some place like Miami at an even more drastic discount.
And what about Odom’s personal life? Three children, all out of wedlock.
OK, there’s three (actually five) decisions Odom has effectively botched. What else do you need to know to understand that Odom isn’t a bright person and that his motivation in this marriage is most-likely, frighteningly misguided.
And just what is that motivation?
From past experience dealing with celebrity athletes and media members, I think I have a pretty good idea: insatiable desire for celebrity in the main. Odom doesn’t want to just be on ESPN, he wants to be on E! And Odom is far from alone. From my personal interaction with pro athletes over the past two decades, I’d say a good 80% of his peers feel the same way.
Now, would you and I wreck our family financially (no pre-nup!) and emotionally to marry into the reality show world of the Kardashians in a matter of weeks? Course not. But you and I don’t have $50M in the bank, a horde of parasites pushing us in that direction and a stilted view of what’s really important in life.
Before his childish holdout earlier this summer, I would’ve felt bad for Odom in this situation, but not anymore. Dude is 29, grow the Fark up.
Then again, since every day in the main media is opposite day, Odom’s image will probably improve, so what do I know?