No. 48 Lamar Odom

Lamar Odom has been given many labels throughout his 11-season career — upcoming star, versatile, underachiever. At 30 years old, he can add another one. Winner. Lamar Odom

In the past 15 months, Odom has won two NBA championships and a World Championships gold medal. This isn’t the path many suspected he would take as little as three years ago, when he finished his eighth season with the Lakers getting promptly knocked out of the playoffs’ first round in five games. Up to that point, Odom had made the Playoffs three times but had advanced beyond the first round only once. Furthermore, he had been on just one team that finished with a regular season record more than two games over .500.

Then Pau Gasol came along and Odom found his true calling as a basketball player — that of a leader and an emotional center of a championship squad. When Gasol was traded to the Lakers in February 2008, Odom took a backseat in on-court production. Yet his true value to the Lakers rose as he became a bridge between the starters and bench. Derek Fisher’s guidance can’t be underestimated but it’s Odom who offers calmness in the face of a storm. He’s a great communicator.

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