Reactions poured in from around the NBA after news broke Tuesday that Lamar Odom had been found unconscious in a Las Vegas-area brothel and was fighting for his life at a nearby hospital.
New Orleans Pelicans Coach Alvin Gentry, who coached Odom for two-plus seasons with the Clippers, said: “His greatest assets has also been the thing that doomed him because people took advantage of his kindness, his niceness, his always wanting to share.
“I remember he called me a year after I got fired by the Clippers and said, ‘Coach, I never really told you this, but I want to apologize. If I had been doing the right thing and playing the way I should have, you would have never gotten fired. So I just wanted to apologized for that.’ That’s what he did.
“People don’t understand. He was a good, good person that had demons. He had demons – everybody knows that. But I just think if you take into account his whole background and how he grew up and what was there, it’s not that hard to see where the demons came from. But he was a good human being, a very good person. A good person. That’s what he was.”
Former Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw, now the head coach of the Denver Nuggets called Odom “one of the most genuine and generous people that you would ever want to meet.
“From being around him, he was just a great person. He was one of the nicest guys ever. He took care of a lot of people. Anytime anybody was around him, he took care of everything, he took care of everyone. He always was smiling, having a good time and he was a pleasure to coach. Whatever ends up happening, I hope that that’s what people take away from him because he’s really a good guy.”
Another former Clippers coach, Vinny Del Negro, reflected on coaching Odom during the 2012-13 season.
“He had a great spirit, great guy," he told The Times. "He was fun to be around and he loved basketball. He worked incredibly hard to get back in shape."
Del Negro added: “You feel numb right now, because he was such a terrific person, and when you hear news like this, it just breaks your heart. ... I know a lot of people have reached out over the years to try to help him in various ways. The reason you did it was because he was such a tremendous person. He was so much fun to be around. You just always hoped for the best for him."
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Former Laker and current Chicago Bulls star Pau Gasol said he was struggling with the news.
“It’s really, really sad for all of us who know him and care about him and have been around him. It’s been a difficult day for me personally. I found about his situation and it’s really tough.
He was a great teammate, full of joy, a guy you want to have in your locker room. He’s very unselfish, an incredible guy. I had a lot of memorable moments with him. That’s why it’s so hard, to see him fighting for his life.
“We had a very special bond. We played off each other a lot. We finished most games or all games together. We’re both versatile, unselfish. It was fun to play together. We had incredible respect for each other. We just played so well together and with that team. It’s very hard.
“I got some updates today and they weren’t good. It was an emotional day for me. Just trying to keep it together for now. And hopefully . . . I don’t know . . . hopefully, he’ll come back and recover well. But what I heard is it’s a very difficult situation. We’ll see how it unravels but it’s just really sad that a person with that type of heart and talent has gone through so much and to get to this point, I’m sure he’s gone through a lot of things these last few years. It breaks my heart.“
Former Lakers teammate Devean George told The Times of Odom: "“He had a good heart, a good dude.
“He had a good locker-room presence. He was just a good teammate. I just remember him being a solid cat. No confrontations. Even when it was something that he wanted to approach you with, it was always a calm and cool voice, like, ‘Man, can you pass me the ball.’ It wasn’t like, ‘Damn, pass me the ball!’ It was always cool. He talked about it. He was funny. We had a blast. He was hilarious.
“He was super generous, super generous. Man. Wow. Wow. Wow.”
Chauncey Billlups and Odom were teammates on the Clippers in 2012-13 and on the USA World Championship team that won gold at 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey.
“I’ve known Lamar for years and years and years, and I found out he was a very intelligent and calculated guy. He was very in tuned with himself, very in tuned with the world, very knowledgeable. And it was not just basketball, but in life, just in life," Billups told The Times.
“I grew to really respect him. We became very good friends. I really grew to respect him on a different level outside of basketball by spending time with him. And that’s something I can’t really say about everybody that I played with. You always have a basketball respect for them. But you don’t always have the respect for the man all the time. But I did with LO. It was a treat just getting to know him when I did.”
ESPN said Metta World Peace was distraught Tuesday night after hearing the news about his childhood friend and former Lakers teammate.
"I don't even know what to say," World Peace said. "There's not one word that I can say right now that's going to make sense. I don't know what to say right now."
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Clippers star Chris Paul ended a postgame news conference Wednesday with a message for his former teammate.
"I wanted to extend love and support to one of our NBA brothers, Lamar Odom. We love you, man. Keep fighting," Paul said. "He's a member of this fraternity, our basketball brotherhood, and we love you and we're all there for you, man."
Golden State interim Coach Luke Walton, a former Lakers teammate of Odom's, said Tuesday: "Lamar is a brother to me. I love that man. My prayers are with him."
Dwayne Wade offered a prayer for his former Miami teammate over Twitter on Wednesday morning:
Many others from around the NBA have sent out their heartfelt thoughts as well.
VIDEO: Lamar Odom found unconscious in Nevada brothel
"Obviously, our hearts and our thoughts and our prayers are with Lamar and his family," Lakers Coach Byron Scott said Tuesday night. "It's obviously something that you don't want to hear before the game because I think the people that knew about it, we were all thinking about it. ... I obviously feel for him and hope that he'll be OK."
"It's tough. It's tough because these guys were real close to him here, and the Laker family really loved him," Lakers guard Nick Young said. "For anybody to be down like that and go through so much, it's tough. Your heart goes out to him."