Lakers' Odom fights way into shape
By Elliott Teaford, Staff Writer
Updated: 10/01/2009 12:02:15 AM PDT
EL SEGUNDO - Lamar Odom was hazy on a few of the details Wednesday afternoon.
He began boxing for conditioning about two months ago.
Somewhere on the Westside. Maybe at the corner of La Cienega and Pico?
Training with a Terry somebody or other.
Every other day during the offseason.
"I needed something combative," he said. "I was thinking about defense. It's all footwork. I'm staying in there. I'm not a (wimp) anymore. It just made me think of competing at the highest level and that's one-on-one. Warriors.
"I'm just waiting for someone to act up a little bit. I'm going to sneak one in at a real close range. Nah, I would never fight on the court. It's all about footwork. I want to become a better defensive player."
The bottom line is that Odom reported to training camp in excellent shape, better than at any time since Phil Jackson has been the Lakers' coach. Jackson has criticized Odom's lack of fitness in the past, but praised him Wednesday.
Kind of. Sort of.
"I don't know what that was all about," Jackson said when asked about Odom's boxing regime. "But it's probably the only time he's worked out in the offseason since I've been here. Oh, I shouldn't say that. He had injuries two or three of those years. He had surgeries, but he is in better shape than he's been in before.
"It's something. He could have done Tai-chi or whatever and been better off than he's been the past few years, bettern than just playing golf."
Certainly, no one would have blamed Odom for blowing off a little steam, hitting a heavy bag while trying to forget about protracted negotiations on a new contract last summer. He said he dabbled in boxing for other reasons, however.
In fact, he signed a four-year, $32-million contract, then starting boxing.
"First of all, I love the sport," he explained. "I was, like, following it. When you look at those guys, it looks like they're in pretty good shape. You're strong from your ankles to your neck, right? Boom, take a punch."
Wait, there was more.
The left-handed Odom also boxed in an attempt to improve his right hand.
"Then I was thinking about the whole muscle-memory thing," he added. "If I can knock you out, boom, with my right hand, I've got to be able to make a layup with my right hand. Just training my body, training the right side of my body."
thank you Lamar