Lakers' Odom Rides Sugar High To NBA Finals

The candy man can

It was a little-discussed thing in the Lakers locker room during the season. Right after the media was ushered out 45 minutes before game time, and sometimes before, Lamar Odom would pull out a bag of candy and chow down.

His favorite? Hershey's Cookies & Cream. But just about anything gummy will work too. He shares with teammates, he seems to always have some on him. He told ESPN he’ll wake up at night, have a few Skittles or a couple Starburst, then fall back to sleep.

And anyone who has children — or remembers the thrill of Halloween when they were 8 — will tell you that a sugar rush is real. It was our first high, and it can be addicting. And from that addiction it’s pretty easy to extrapolate that Odom’s up and down play could be attributed to sugar crashes and rushes. The LA Times went so far as to get a doctor to say that is the case.

Of course, reality often intrudes on the easy answers. Like that Odom is playing up his penchant some for the increased number of cameras around for the NBA Finals — it’s not THAT bad. He does eat plenty of candy, but not as much as was suggested on ESPN.

The truth is that Odom’s play — and is love of candy — are just extensions of his free spirit nature. He lives moment to moment. Sometimes he is fully engrossed and present in that moment, sometimes he is a million miles away.

But when he is in the moment, there are few in the NBA that have his versatility of skills — a 6’10” guy who can rebound a ball and lead the break, can shoot the three ball or post you up on the block.

And because of that he is a key to the Lakers chances to get an NBA title. Odom is the one Laker who can matchup well defensively or with Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis. He creates mismatches at the offensive end. When he is playing well, as he did in the last two games against Denver, the Lakers offense flows and they become almost impossible to beat.

After this season Odom is a free agent, and while he says he wants to stay a Laker (and has hinted there would be a hometown discount) he will test the market. A versatile big man is likely to draw some interest. And if a GM really wants to impress him, have some candy waiting in the towncar that picks him up at the airport.

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