In return to basketball, Odom hopes to lift Mighty Sports to next level

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 24 2019 03:53 PM

Lamar Odom joins Mighty Sports in practice. Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines -- Former NBA star Lamar Odom was somewhat critical of himself after participating in his second practice with Mighty Sports Philippines.

The two-time champion with the Los Angeles Lakers arrived in Metro Manila on Wednesday morning, and immediately went to work with the team. 

On Thursday, he engaged in another two-hour grind with the team, which includes celebrated Ginebra import Justin Brownlee, and University of the Philippines star Juan Gomez de Liano.

"For me, it was poor," Odom said of his second practice. "But everybody practiced well. I think we got better as a team." 

"We don't have too much time, but we're gonna do the best we can," he added.

Odom was impressed with his teammates, noting that "they can all play." Aside from Gomez de Liano and Brownlee, Mighty Sports also tapped Joseph Yeo, Santi Santillan, Troy Rike, Gab Banal, and another import in Randolph Morris -- among others -- to play for them in the Dubai International Basketball Championship.

The former Laker forward has not played competitive basketball since 2014, when he suited up for the New York Knicks. But he hopes to give the Mighty Sports team a good lift when they play in Dubai. 

"Hopefully, I can raise everyone’s level and we can win this tournament," said Odom, the NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 2011.

Odom brings a wealth of experience to the Mighty Sports team, having played at the highest level of basketball. He is looking forward to sharing that knowledge to his teammates, some of which are fresh out of college -- or, in Gomez de Liano's case, still playing in the UAAP.

"There isn’t anything on the basketball court I haven’t seen before so hopefully I can just, you know, guide them through," he said.

For his part, Odom is just looking forward to playing basketball once again. 

He was initially set to play in China last year, but felt that he was not yet in good physical condition after a tough personal stretch that saw him suffer multiple strokes and heart attacks. 

He said he is in good shape now, however, and is ready to remind the world of what he can do on the court.

"I’m just looking forward to compete, you know, and playing hard as possible and hopefully winning, that’s about it," said Odom.

Mighty Sports leaves for Dubai on January 31 as the tournament starts on February 1.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.