Saturday, 6 August 2011


The ballot of Los Angeles.

By Tim David Harvey

Let's talk about All-Star's. Now Kobe's always a given, that's why he's nearly always the top vote getter. Pau Gasol? Sure he's a regular. Ron Artest? Yep there's no one like him, defensively or mentally, put him in. Andrew Bynum? Sure he's been injured, but off the bench yes and who else is there for the centre position out West? Derek Fisher even? Hey, there was a Twitter campaign going last season, now wouldn't that have been nice? He deserves it (but that's for a separate piece). Next year when it's time to tick the ballots and punch the holes out of the paper in the NBA mid-terms one man shouldn't be forgotten for his all-team, all-time, all-star play. Just like he has been unjustly throughout his career and criminally was again last season in his best one yet.

With so much talent on view for the Lake Show next years All-Star game could be like '96 all over again. Just like when Shaq, Kobe and mid-nighties, purple and gold legends Eddie Jones and Nick 'The Quick' Van Exel suited up in those gaudy, instantly dated All-Star uni's. Face it like face time the Lakers could easily field their starting lineup at next years game. They may as well have done it last season as the game was played at STAPLES after all. Still-especially with all the inconsistencies-it's not the starting lineup that's most deserving of the honor, it's the Lakers most consistent player of last season and their and the NBA's 'Sixth Man of the Year'; Lamar Odom.

Forget 'Khloe and Lamar' for a second, the only thing you need to keep up with is what Lamar Odom showcases on the court. The only reality you need to tune into is that this guy is the most diverse, versatile player in the league. He is the difference maker, the do it all guy everybody wants on their team. Part what Kevin Garnett is, part what Anthony Randolph is going to be. Just like what Pat Riley said back in the Miami days, just like Magic.

Odom's got his own tricks two. From a great inside and out game, on both ends of the floor, to passing first and shooting from anywhere when needed. He's a triple, double machine and his 16 and 10 double, double average is two buckets away from being the 20 and 10 sought after figures that are generally considered, Dwight, Amare or legendary numbers...and they said Lamar was soft. No he's tough, like his New York upbringing. Q.B.'s finest like Nas, Ron Artest, (we see you Devin Ebanks) now that's two games legendary, so let's give him one more.

Most of these points come off the bench as well. OK, so with the injuries the Lakers suffered last season, from Bynum to everyone, L.O. has started more than he's had pine time. Still, he willingly and ably went back in his reserve role when no longer needed for the prime-time. Last seasons NBA's 'Sixth Man Of The Year' and one of the best ever in this position (but that's for another article) really epitomised the sporting definition of the word 'backup'. Besides Lamar saved the short-handed Lakers from falling even shorter during last season, it was just a shame about the playoffs. Now aren't these the hallmarks of a top sixth man? Coming in hot when his cold team needs him? Still as said, that's for a different article.

This unique player deserves the exclusive honor of playing mid-February and not just looking flash and Hollywood on the sidelines watching. What does he gave to do? Shave a star into his head again? The voters may put him out of their minds for the Durant's etc, that's fair enough but the coaches shouldn't snub him yet again. Seriously after his last campaign last year he looked more then a lock or the fan campaigns and petitions, he should have been a certainty like his dependable and consistent play. The majority of these coaches would love him on their team, so does everybody else... word to Nelly Furtado (whether that's a cool reference or not both his game and her are as hot as each other). He was good enough for America and the rest of the world in 2010 as he and the U.S. took home gold. So why isn't everyone else now sold?

Sure-for the Lakers-this guy probably shouldn't start, but what's more perfect than this sixth man coming off the bench? He plays like an All-Star so he should be given that declaration. Gone are the days where bench players and sixth men weren't good enough to play with the big boys. Bobby Jackson changed all that and no one knows that more than the Lakers. Good second units and bench mobs are what take ordinary teams to champions and if you where to start a second team today Lamar Odom would be your franchise guy for sure. He'll be a Laker legend when it's all said and done, Worthy like James. So why is he getting less action in February then 'Call Of Duty' all nighters?

Lamar's entertaining and a genuine star. He deserves the vote, people should return the favour. We've had too many years of this now. Why are the ones who work the hardest all the time continually disregarded and taken for granted. Next year when the lockout is over and the ballots are passed, pen should meet paper halfway like Odom's success meets what he shares. This do it all, versatile forward is cool but not laid back. Don't let that smooth demeanour fool you. That equally Jaamal Wilkes silky game is worked and honed to perfection. This is the product of nothing lazy, so why sleep, appreciate. He's everything you could ever want and need on your team.

If Kobe's having a 9 for 21 night, Lamar will come in and make the extra shot after shots. Jumper or critics, Odom rebounds from being written off to sign in for his team and take them out of situation critical. Others would simply clock out, call the game on an account of pain. L.O. takes no L though, he's no loser, mind over matter. If Pau needs help in that hardened frontcourt, Lamar will come in and clean the glass and polish off missed shots, en route to as many double, doubles as Pau or anybody in this league gets. Do you have to be told twice? Lamar's overcome it all, personal and/or what we can write about, year after year, cycle after cycle. He's been through the storm and survived to reign. Championship ring. Back to back ring any bells? Don't confuse selflessness for weakness. He's all team, he's all-star. The everything man. Give him something.

He would be one of your best picks to start a first team, believe it or not, fantasy or reality, youth and experience, offence and defence, inside and out. This versatility is why he would start on any other team in the league, (even his old Miami team and all their hot 'superfriends') and this fact is why he is an All-Star, vote or die, change or George Bush. Forget 'yes we can', next year lets make it happen! Tick the box, punch his name, write 'Lamar Odom' down as that special extra name you'd usually reserve for another fan favourite (unless it's Fisher). Then repeat and do it all again. Like clockwork. It's time.

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