After Thursday’s practice at American Airlines Center, the Dallas Mavericks sent out well-wishes to Lamar Odom with hopes that the former NBA player will have a speedy recovery.
Two days ago Odom was found unconscious in a Las Vegas-area brothel. Numerous media reports indicate he has a 50-50 chance of surviving.
Odom played 50 games during the 2011-’12 season for the Mavericks before the two parties unceremoniously parted ways. But that breakup was not on the Mavericks’ minds Thursday and they are holding out hope that he pulls through.
"Our organization – like everybody else in the NBA family – thoughts and prayers are with him and his family,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. "It’s a very distressing situation.
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"We know he’s fighting for his life and we wish him the best.’’
Odom averaged 6.6 points and 4.2 rebounds and shot 35.2 percent from the field for the Mavericks while playing 20.5 uneventful minutes per game in ’11-’12. The Mavericks listed Odom as inactive for the rest of the season on April 9, 2012, two days after owner Mark Cuban and Odom had a verbal clash in the Mavericks’ locker room during halftime of a game in Memphis.
Those theatrics are forgotten Odom clings to his life in a Las Vegas hospital.
"It’s an incredibly sad story,’’ forward Dirk Nowitzki said. "He’s a great guy, even though stuff didn’t work out for him here the way we all hoped.
"But I’ve got nothing but positive and nice things to say about him. He was always cool to us -- his teammates -- supportive.’’
Forward Charlie Villanueva and Odom both grew up in Queens, N.Y, and are less than five years in age difference.
"One of the realist persons I’ve ever gotten a chance to be around,’’ Villanueva said. "He took me under his wing when I was in high school.
‘"It’s just very tragic. It’s just very sad to see that happen to him.’’
Nowitzki is the only current Mavericks player who was on the 2011’-12 roster with Odom. So, he saw the challenges the 6-10 forward faced in trying to fit in.
"I think sometimes he was a little frustrated because it wasn’t going his way,’’ Nowitzki said. "But he was a fun guy to be around, and it’s just a sad, sad story.
"And we all obviously wish him well and we’re thinking about him. Hopefully he’ll pull through.’’
That’s also what Villanueva is hoping.
"He has overcome so many things and I hope he can overcome this,’’ Villanueva said. "From losing a son, losing his mom, aunts, friends.
"The one thing he said is he’s been burying people his whole life. It’s hard to see him go through this, but hopefully he has one more chance to turn this around.’’
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