Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace are worried for their friend Lamar Odom
Kobe Bryant and Metta World Peace have been left downcast by the serious medical situation of former Lakers teammate Lamar Odom.
Odom remains hospitalized in Las Vegas after he collapsed in a Nevada brothel and was found unconscious after ingesting what officials said were sexual stimulants, cocaine and alcohol.
Bryant and Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak visited Odom after the team finished playing an exhibition game Tuesday night in Las Vegas.
When the Lakers returned to practice Thursday after taking Wednesday off, Lakers Coach Byron Scott said Bryant was handling his feelings regarding Odom’s condition.
“It’s hard on him,” Scott said. “He was very close to Lamar. Loves him like a brother. So it’s a rough time for Kobe dealing with that.”
Bryant, who is nursing a bruised lower left leg that was injured Tuesday night, left before the media were allowed into practice.
World Peace and Odom were teammates and friends since they were kids in New York. They won an NBA championship together with the Lakers in 2010 and have remained close.
That’s why World Peace said he sent his brother Daniel Artest to stay at a hotel across the street from where Odom was hospitalized, his way of offering support.
“Hopefully, he gets well,” World Peace said. “Hopefully, he ... gets the support that he really needs.”
World Peace said he didn’t visit Odom after the Lakers played in Las Vegas, but was happy Bryant and Kupchak did.
“I thank Mitch and the Lakers organization for being very concerned, and for [Lakers trainer] Gary Vitti for keeping us all updated,” World Peace said. “Hopefully Lamar pulls through.”
When asked how he was holding up, World Peace put the spotlight back on Odom.
“It’s really not about me right now,” World Peace said. “It’s all about Lamar and his kids. That’s it. Nothing else.”
Scott didn’t coach Odom, but said their common bond is that both played for the Lakers.
“It’s just that purple and gold. Once you’ve worn it and you’ve done this organization proud, you’ll always be a part of the family,” Scott said. “And Lamar is no different. I think that’s why everybody that’s associated with this organization feels for him right now and his family.”
Scott said Bryant didn’t practice Thursday because of “a little swelling” in his leg but said it was “nothing real serious.” Scott didn’t say whether Bryant will play Saturday night when the Lakers play Golden State in an exhibition game in San Diego. …The Lakers picked up the third-year option on Julius Randle‘s rookie contract Thursday, guaranteeing the forward $3.3 million for the 2016-17 season. … The team has named Tracy Murray a shooting coach. ... Rookie point guard Marcelo Huertas practiced Thursday for the first time since he strained his right hamstring on the second day of training camp in Hawaii.
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