Basketball

In autobiography, Lamar Odom accuses Mark Cuban of kicking, berating him during tumultuous stint with Mavs

Lamar Odom was miserable in Dallas, the NBA star and former Maverick wrote in his recently released autobiography.

The two-time NBA champion was traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Dallas Mavericks in December 2011. Over the next few months, he proceeded to become one of the worst player acquisitions in owner Mark Cuban's tenure with the organization.

Odom averaged career lows of 6.6 points, 4.2 rebounds over 50 games with Dallas, mainly coming off the bench. The club briefly sent him to the D-League Texas Legends before giving up on him completely in April of the 2011-12 season, listing him as inactive for the rest of the year before eventually trading him to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Odom was also often late for practices and meetings, never giving the impression he was invested in the Mavs.

In his autobiography, Odom said he was not in a good place mentally upon his arrival to Dallas, and called the entire season a 'lost cause' for him personally.

While he had informed Cuban and the Mavericks of his mental state, according to Odom, that didn't stop the Mavs owner from publicly berating the forward both during games for his poor play and in front of teammates in the locker room.

In an excerpt of his book, Darkness to Light: A Memoir, released to D Magazine, Odom described one altercation that involved Cuban kicking him in the shin during a game:

"During one homestand, I was having possibly the worst game of the season. Head coach Rick Carlisle subbed me out, and I looked for a seat near the coaches, but none were available. So I went down to the only open seat at the end of the bench. Right next to Cuban.

"Cuban extended his right foot and kicked my shin. ... 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.

" ... What if Vince, who I had the closest connection to on that team, hadn't been sitting there? What if he had been paying attention to the game and hadn't seen the incident? I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that Vince Carter saved me from catching a charge and ending my career in disgrace."

After months of saying how hopeful the organization was that Odom would turn around his season, Cuban's frustration level hit the breaking point April 7 in Memphis.

Cuban went into the visitor's locker room at halftime and asked Odom, who had played four pitiful first-quarter minutes, a simple question: Was Odom all in or was Odom out?

"I didn't take kindly to it," Odom said in his book. "Once again, he didn't treat me like a man. That's not how you handle something in front of the entire team. Man, it was heated. I had fantasies about decking him, but that wasn't the way out. I never played another game for the Mavs."

This confrontation was the final straw for the Mavericks, and Cuban said he and everybody else simply grew tired of getting a negative vibe from Odom.

"Everybody goes through ups and downs," Cuban said in 2012. "Every player does. We tried to put him in a position to succeed. It didn't work. And I just asked him, 'does he want to go for it or not?' I just didn't get a commitment. And that was the end."

Odom would play for the Clippers for one season before exiting the NBA and falling into a multitude of other off-the-court issues including being found unresponsive in a Nevada brothel in 2015.

Odom has attempted to return to professional basketball in recent years both overseas and with the Big3 league.

When asked about the stories in Odom's autobiography, Cuban told SportsDay's Brad Townsend: "I wish Lamar nothing but the best."

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