Swin Cash’s Advice for Lamar Odom
Don’t mix business and family.
by Swin Cash / @swincash
The past few days in the NBA have been…crazy. I went to bed in China a couple of nights ago after hearing about one of my UConn alums, Caron Butler, inking a deal with the Clippers and a three-team trade featuring superstars like Chris Paul, Lamar Odom, Luis Scola and Pau Gasol…only to wake up a few hours later and see it was vetoed by the Commissioner David Stern.
After that, all hell broke loose; the NBA started trending on Twitter, an email from an NBA owner to the commissioner was leaked, and lastly (the one that shocked me the most) Lamar Odom was extremely distraught by the news. Here was a player left not only baffled by the fact he was traded but the fact he wasn’t even given a heads up before it was reported by the media.
One look at Lamar’s timeline on Twitter and you realize two things: First, the fact he was traded hurt him; he never saw it coming or received a heads up. Second, he feels he cannot play this season for the Los Angeles Lakers. As a player who has been traded in my career, I have a little insight that I’d like to share with him. It may help him, or maybe not, but at least I tried to share the lessons I’ve learned.
First, understand this is business. Actually, BIG Business. You should have taken your emotions out of it years ago. You have to! That’s the only way to survive and keep a clear mind. I know how you’re feeling; you’ve invested so much in the team and in the community. They were like your family!
(Let me stop you right there.)
See that’s were athletes go wrong. In college, you were on scholarship, which meant four years of the same coaches, staff and even some teammates. They create a family atmosphere because they are helping mold you into young men and women. Once you go pro it becomes a different ball game. Now, don’t get me wrong, they probably loved you in Los Angeles, Lamar; you helped bring them two World Championship trophies. And, yes, while you will always be in their history books, don’t confuse success with security.
The reason you’re hurt is because you weren’t prepared mentally. I learned through experience not to take it personally (easier said than done, I know). I’m sure all the people you work with in L.A. from the top down like or love you and most of those same people probably appreciate what you’ve done. But when it’s time to address business, emotions don’t matter – making business sense does. It’s a truth that most athletes have to learn the hard way. That doesn’t mean you have to dislike your owners or organization; it just means you keep things in perspective and have a level of mutual respect about business – but take the false sense of loyalty out of the equation.
Obviously the trade didn’t go down (it looks like he is now going to Dallas) and as your tweet said, “what are you supposed to do now?” I’ll tell you what you do now – go to practice, put on your practice gear, lace up your Nike’s and ball out. Then, after practice when they ask you how you felt about the trade, you answer just like this (in your best Jay-Z voice): “It’s a business man and I’m a Business, Man.”
Admittedly, that would be a good statement and a nice touch for the Khole and Lamar cameras but try this: “I’m a professional. I’m a Laker and I’m here to work hard to prepare for the 2011-12 season.” Then use the #ThatIsAll hash tag on them.
The best way to kill the pink elephant in your locker room and to break the ice is to keep it classy.
After hearing Lamar talk on the Steven A. Smith show a couple days ago my friend from NY said he was just acting for the camera crew that is following him for his TV show. That’s why he got choked up over the trade. I truly felt that Lamar was really hurt and blind sighted.
Whichever one is true, Lamar, I just hope you now understand why they say don’t mix business and family.