Lamar Odom was the established veteran star on Team USA this summer when they won gold. Even moreso than Chauncey Billups who gave up time for all the youngster guards on the squad and Kevin Durant, still learning his way around. Odom played minutes at just about every position, and considerable time at center for the undermanned Team USA down low. And though he did have his fair share of Lamar Odom moments, he played better as the tournament wore on, and was a big reason the US brought home the gold.
Now he’s come out and told the Los Angeles Daily News that he hopes to represent the US again in 2012 for the Olympics in London. Most of the so-called superstars like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have said they plan to return to Team USA for the 2012 games, meaning getting a spot for Odom might be more difficult. But Odom has an advantage over some of the other lower-rung players. Championship experience. He’s been a part of two championship teams (and will probably have been a part of more by the 2012 Summer Games), and a Gold Medal squad. Coaches consider that kind of experience invaluable. Wrap it in with his overall talent, and Odom could very well be in play.
The question will be how the team formulates and how many power forwards are available for the team then. Small forward, Odom’s natural position, will be well-stocked with James and Kevin Durant. And while center will likely be taken care of by Dwight Howard and Amar’e Stoudemire (if he’s able to play with his insurance situation), power forward may be a spot where Odom can find time. And with his range and versatility, in the international game, it’s a perfect fit.
Besides all that, while the other guys were off cruising in their new cities or resting on their laurels, Odom was fighting for gold. That’s got to count for something, right?