Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival  Gala: Benji - 2012 Tribeca Film Festival

Report: Lamar Odom arrested for DUI


Lamar Odom — whose own agent admitted he was dealing with drug issues — was arrested early Friday morning (late Thursday night) for driving under the influence.

Of course, TMZ had the news first.

The bust occurred in the San Fernando Valley at 3:54 AM. Lamar — who was driving a white Mercedes SUV — was popped by the California Highway Patrol and taken to a nearby station, where he was booked and is being held on $15,000 bail.

He was pulled over on the 101 Freeway for going too slow — 50 MPH. Cops say Odom had been driving in a “serpentine manner.”

Odom failed “numerous” field sobriety tests and refused to take a chemical test.

Odom’s agent admitted that his client was trying to get help for a drug problem, which he would not identify. TMZ had reported this drug issue had gone on for a couple years, though the past two seasons he did not fail any league drug tests. That said, the issue seems serious just by recent behavior including the apparent falling apart of his marriage (while there are all kinds of rumors we’re slow to believe everything TMZ or the tabloids write about Odom, especially without proof).

Odom passed every league drug test last season when playing for the Clippers, that would be four tests randomly spread through the season. (At least we know he didn’t test positive for harder drugs. In the NBA, the first two times a player tests positive for marijuana use he is sent to counseling and rehab, but the third positive test results in a five-game suspension. However, suspensions start immediately for harder drugs.) After the fourth test if a team suspects an issue it can demand more tests. I’m not going into a longer diatribe about drugs in the NBA right now, Tom Ziller covered that well already.

In Odom’s case, clearly something is going on. Which is too bad, because I like Odom, a guy who can be very funny and genuine.

There had been an Internet report that the Lakers promised Odom a roster spot if he immediately checked into rehab. That is not true, there has been no meeting or discussion along those lines. Right now there are no teams going to step forward and take a chance on Odom and he will have a lot of hoops to jump through to get back in the league.

Whatever happens, we hope Odom can clean up his life and get back on his feet.

Barack Obama picks Warriors to win title. Like everyone else.

Barack Obama
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The Baller and Chief is on his way out the door.

Barack Obama has been by far the biggest hoops fan to inhabit the White House (with John Quincy Adams a very distant second). He’s put up a basketball court at the White House, filled out NCAA Tournament brackets, jokingly applied for the Wizards’ coaching job, thought about becoming an owner, gone to NBA games, and just been a fan like the rest of us.

And he’s picking the Warriors to win it all. Like everyone else.

In what was primarily a “get out the vote” effort, President Obama called in to ‘Sway in the Morning’ hosted by Sway Calloway on Eminem’s SiriusXM channel Shade 45. Asked to pick the next NBA champ, the Bulls fan went exactly where everyone else did — Golden State.

“I’m going to go with the Warriors just because of [Kevin] Durant, that addition. I think they just have too much firepower,” Obama said. “Although they just got spanked in their first game, so it will take a while to figure things out.”

Obama also picked the Patriots to win the NFL title. He’s such a frontrunner.

Report: NBA owners rejecting expansion ‘at every turn’

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With rumors of NBA expansion swirling, it’s time to look at more concrete evidence.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has repeatedly shot down expansion talk, and that’s not him going rogue. His bosses have apparently taken a firm stance.

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:

Basketball Insiders reached out to an NBA owner and a voting member of the Board of Governors and was told flatly that any talk of expansion has been shot down at every turn inside the Board of Governors meetings. It’s been a non-starter.

There is a theoretical one-time expansion fee so high where the current 30 owners would divide their shares of revenue further. But the NBA takes in so much annually, it’s hard to imagine a new ownership group could and would front enough money.

Sorry, Seattle (and Louisville and Las Vegas and…). The evidence is overwhelmingly on the side of the league staying at 30 teams. You’ll probably just have to poach a team from another city.

Greg Oden on basketball career: ‘It’s over’

Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat - Game 6
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Greg Oden’s multiple injuries dictated the former No. 1 pick wouldn’t have the career forecasted for him.

But he returned from three years off an NBA court to play for the Heat in 2014. He followed that breakthrough with a couple tryouts and a stint in China.

Could he once again return to the league?

Dana Hunsinger Benbow of IndyStar:

Asked whether he’d play basketball again, he said, “I wish. It’s over.” Instead, he is back with the Buckeyes as a student coach, helping out the players and Matta any way he can.

Oden, who was picked one spot before Kevin Durant, once declared: “I know I’m one of the biggest busts in NBA history and I know that it’ll only get worse as Kevin Durant continues doing big things.” That statement is blunt, reality and sad all wrapped into one.

It’s a shame we never got to see Oden healthy for long. There was good reason for the Trail Blazers to pick him first, but injuries ruined what could’ve been an intriguing extend debate over him and Durant.

Hopefully, Oden finds fulfillment in the next chapter of his life.

Report: LeBron James didn’t want to play for Cavaliers before they drafted him

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The Cavaliers landing the No. 1 pick in the 2003 NBA draft seemed like a fairytale.

The consensus top choice and one of the most-hyped prospects of all-time was a local kid from nearby Akron, LeBron James.

But this happy accident didn’t come through rainbows and butterflies. To get the top seed in the lottery, Cleveland had to get bad – really bad. The Cavs missed the playoffs five straight years, bottoming out at 17-65 in 2002-03.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

When James was a teenager, he started attending games at the arena, and he couldn’t believe how bad the Cavs were, how empty the arena often was, with its bright blue seats seeming like a neon sign of disinterest. During his senior year of high school, he went to several games, was given courtside seats and visited the locker room. His thought was pretty clear after he watched that 17-win team with the lowest attendance in the league: They were awful, and he didn’t want to be a part of it.

Can we be surprised someone who grew up in Akron, Ohio, as a Bulls, Yankees and Cowboys fan didn’t want to join the Cavs? LeBron was a frontrunner.

What he didn’t realize at the time: He’d gain the power to singlehandedly transform a franchise, and he’d develop an emotional attachment to the Cavaliers.

Cleveland wasn’t going to remain unwatchable with him. He turned the Cavs into a credible championship contender. Then, after leaving for the Heat, he returned. He even delivered delivered its long-awaited title last season.

The tears of joy he cried afterward show just how much that area, including its NBA team, means to him.

That he was initially sour on the Cavaliers adds an interesting twist to the story. It doesn’t detract from it.