Playboy Interview: Lamar Odom

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Playboy Interview: Lamar Odom:

“I was kind of surprised at how intelligent she was. You don’t know what to expect. Next thing I know I’m spending every day with her. We just hit it off,” says Los Angeles Lakers star Lamar Odom of the first time he met his wife, Khloé Kardashian, in Playboy’s February Interview. “I never in my life thought I would get married. There was a time when I liked being a certain way, being social and having friends in different places, but when I met Khloé, that was the first time I got the urge to be like, I don’t even want to do that anymore. That’s when I knew I found somebody. I couldn’t do what I normally do. She’s too strong-willed. She’d leave me.”

Despite a tough childhood growing up in Queens, NY, and fighting through early scandals in his basketball career, Odom has achieved stardom both on and off the court. After marrying Khloé just one month after meeting her, Odom was thrust onto magazine covers and talk shows typically reserved for basketball’s biggest stars. As a further testament to his dual-fame, the couple has started filming their own E! Reality-show, Khloé and Lamar. Playboy sent Contributing Editor Jason Buhrmester to meet Odom at Playboy Studio West, where he discovered why the athlete’s sweet tooth is legendary. “During the interview he put away a large bag of peach jelly rings and a couple of chocolate bars,” says Buhrmester.

In the Interview, Odom discusses the crazy fans in Boston and Utah, rumors that his marriage is a “PR stunt,” meeting President Obama, and Jack Nicholson’s legendary Lakers love. Following are select quotes from the Interview:

On how marrying Khloé has changed him: “Men, most of the time our goal is to have what we want when it comes to women…Most men like more than one woman. A lot of them would not want to admit that because that might not be cool, right? Most people don’t want to get married. Being married, that’s a responsibility. I always used to tell that to women. I don’t want a girlfriend because that means I’ve got a responsibility. I have a responsibility to call you. I have a responsibility not to be with another woman. I have a responsibility to be there on time when you need me. With her I was like, If I do what I normally do, I’m going to lose her. And if I lose her, I think it’s going to hurt a lot. Right then and there I knew. We were together every day.”

On whether it was true that he withheld sex until they were married: “I tried to. I didn’t know why I wanted to wait. We came together and knew what we wanted from each other really early, and everything we did felt good, from a hug to a kiss. Then there was a time when I just tried to be a gentleman about the whole situation. I was accepted by her family. She stayed at my place and vice versa. I thought, We’re going to step back for a second. Keep it classy.”

On accusations their love is fake, and their marriage is a “PR stunt": “That’s just how gossip works, you know? You can’t stop it. Because at the time, with us being so successful—me in basketball and her show doing so well—it was too big. It was too huge. It caught people off guard. It looked as though we had too much to gain. That let me know, damn, it’s a big deal. Even the wedding was big. The list of her family friends was crazy. Those were her people showing up, showing their love. For some people that was too much to even think about. And it was quick. I guess that just added to the speculation—‘Why can’t they wait?’I didn’t want to wait.”

On what would happen if a sex tape of Odom and Khloé leaked: “When people see us in person, they see Khloé’s not small. I’m not small. People see us and are probably like, Damn, I wonder how that looks. We wouldn’t have anything to be ashamed about, but no, that’s not going down.”

On adjusting to the dynamics of the Kardashian family: “People have the wrong idea. They’re a really strong family and fun to be around…I’m perfect for that. I come from a big family. I’ve always been on a team. I understand. The circus is what makes it tick and keeps it going.”

On Khloé’s stepfather Bruce Jenner’s feelings towards him: “Bruce likes me because I’m normal. First, because he’s in a house full of women. He could tell my energy is just about trying to do the best for his stepdaughter and do what I need to do. Respect goes a long way when you carry yourself a certain way and show manners when you first meet someone. If you do that, then it’s hard for somebody not to like you.”

On whether he wants to tell Kourtney Kardashian’s boyfriend Scott Disick to shut up: “Nah, that relationship is between them. As a man, you know how that goes. That relationship is between her and Scott. As long as he’s not disrespectful to Khloé, I can’t overstep my boundaries.”

On how his life changed when his mother died of colon cancer when he was 12: “I probably got closed off. My concentration level changed. School was just something I would not concentrate on. I wouldn’t allow myself to. I became detached. I got in touch with a cold side I probably wouldn’t have gotten in touch with or maybe would’ve at a later age. I have that kamikaze button in me now where I can cut things off maybe a little too easily.”

On growing up in Queens: “When you’re from Queens you learn a lot from the streets and the people in front of you. That’s part of a New Yorker’s upbringing…I learned from the dudes who were playing basketball and then the dudes who were serving [drugs]. It was a mixture of things you absorbed. I learned from my environment.”

On growing up playing basketball with fellow Laker Ron Artest: “Ron was from Queensbridge Housing Projects, and we grew up playing for the same traveling team, Brooklyn Queens Express. We used to go all around the city, playing in different tournaments. I always knew Ron was going to be one of those players who made it to the NBA.”

On the scandals in his early collegiate basketball career, and how people perceive him: “I seem very happy and easygoing and fun to be around, but if you read a biography of my sh*t you’d think I was tough and angry. My whole shit is a contradiction, an enigma. A lot of people identify with fucked-up shit…I wasn’t a bad dude. I never hurt anybody, especially at 16, 17. I wanted to play ball. I just listened to people who were coaching me. It’s America, right? People get second chances. I never let it deter me.”

On his initial NBA experience in L.A. after being drafted by the Clippers:“Rock and roll. When I was in L.A., I was 19. I was probably the most noticeable player, even though we had some good players on that team, some talent…In L.A., we can’t be as good as the Lakers, so I was getting all the love the Clippers were getting. It was a learning process, learning how to deal with success. Smoking pot, doing things I shouldn’t have been doing.”

On the Lakers’ celebrity fans and who he thinks is the most passionate: “I was surprised at how much Jack Nicholson enjoys the game...Joel and Karyn Silver and Denzel Washington as well. Sometimes you think it’s just a show from the outside looking in, but being there, you’re surprised by how much they get into it...[Nicholson] gets on the refs. He gets on the refs hard. He rides them. He lets them know if they’re messing up or if they missed a call. It’s as though he’s in the game.”

On which NBA teams have the craziest fans: “You walk around [Boston] and somebody driving his or her car yells, ‘Hey, Odom, fuck you! We hate you!’ They say it like they mean it, too—not like they’re rooting for their team but like they really don’t like you. There and Utah, the fans are nuts…They bring up all kinds of things. You’d be surprised. But the one thing I do respect about those places is that they know basketball. They know the game. You hit a nice bounce pass, you might hear, ‘Oh!’ That’s when you know you did it.”

On accusations the NBA dress code is trying to remove hip-hop’s influence: “It’s trying to crack down on it, but it’s something the NBA can’t stop. Generations can change and evolve. When you’ve got on jeans, Gucci shoes and a blazer with your T-shirt, that’s still hip-hop. You could throw on a button-down with a tie and still make it hip-hop. I don’t know if they can stop that revolution. What happens when they play? You’re going to see tattoos. That’s hip-hop.”

On who is the NBA’s best—Kobe Bryant or LeBron James: “It’s hard to say who’s the best. Last year you would have given it to Kobe, and three years ago of course he won the MVP…even though my dude LeBron is having another extraordinary year, Kobe is skilled. He’s at the point in his career where he doesn’t have to average the most points. People think whoever averages the most points is the better player. They’re both playing at high levels and they’re both incredible players, but I always have to go with the home team.”

On Pat Riley vs. Phil Jackson—in terms of coaching styles: “Their styles are completely different. You could have two uncles, and the way they go about disciplining you and what you learn from them is very different…they’re mind-sets are different. Pat is very hands-on and confrontational. He tries to nip things in the bud. Both are good people. Both are loyal people. But their styles are completely different.”

On meeting President Obama when the Lakers visited the White House: “That was cool. He can ball. And he plays lefty, so he has a unique way of thinking and doing things. He asked me, ‘How’s married life treating you?’ I was like, ‘Oh, okay.’ He’s hip. He knows what’s going on. It was amazing. My grandmother was born in 1923 in Georgia in the segregated South, so the significance of this was pretty big to me.”


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