Lamar Odom spent the penultimate year of his NBA career as a member of the Dallas Mavericks. It was hardly a successful stint — Odom appeared in 50 games and averaged 6.6 points per game — but it is one that was notable for a myriad of bad reasons, like the tension that existed between the forward and the team’s owner, Mark Cuban.
Thanks to an excerpt in D Magazine, we learned that Odom’s upcoming biography, Darkness to Light, features a section on his tenure with the Mavs, one that shines a little more light on his tumultuous relationship with the team’s owner. As Odom tells it, he told Cuban when they first met that he was “not doing well right now,” and while Cuban stressed that Dallas would “support” him because the franchise viewed itself as a “family,” that was not a permanent arrangement.
Cuban quickly grew to resent me; it seemed his goal was to make my time in Dallas as miserable as possible. He rode me constantly, talked down to me, and questioned my manhood in front of others. During home games he’d grab his usual courtside perch and proceed to hurl obscenities at me.
Odom goes into a collection of alleged insults levied his way by Cuban, and while many of them involve him being verbally heckled, one especially sticks out. The story involves on game where Odom, by his estimation, had “possibly the worst game of the season.” When no seats on then bench were available near the coaching staff, he went down by Cuban, where the Mavericks’ owner kicked him.
Cuban extended his right foot and kicked my shin. “Come on, motherf*cker!” he shouted.
I was stunned. This wasn’t a tap. I felt it. That was the last straw. It was painfully clear he did not respect me as a man. I felt the adrenaline rush through my body. In an instant I was transported back to Linden Boulevard, where the slightest act of disrespect could be fatal. As I sprang up, Vince Carter, who was sitting next to me, grabbed my arm tightly and leaned in.
“LO, chill out,” Vince calmly said. “Don’t do it. It’s not worth it.”
Much has been written about the struggles Odom had in Dallas, both in his personal life and in the locker room. Regardless of the struggles that Odom had as a Maverick, even if there were plenty of self-inflicted wounds on his end, an owner making contact with a player in this manner is a pretty serious allegation.
(Via D Magazine)