The Separation of Business and Emotions: Lamar Odom Breakdown
The separation of church and state is something that is constantly in debate and supported by the majority, however the separation of business and emotions is frequently overlooked. In an emotional business, like the NBA, how can a player be expected to separate his emotions from the business of the game? Easy, the same way Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan were able to, and become number 1 and 2 of all time (respectively). So why do we care?
Last night, Lamar Odom of the Los Angeles Lakers, became as much of a diva as the Kardashian family. Okay, maybe that’s a low blow; those girls aren’t close to how big of a diva he was. Around 4pm PST it became known that Lamar Odom would be traded to the New Orleans Hornets and Pau Gasol would go to the Houston Rockets, in turn the Lakers would acquire Chris Paul. In an interview with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, Odom, in nearly incoherent sentences, due to either tears or copious amounts of Kush, expressed his disbelief, saying that he was devastated. He conveyed a sense of betrayal that the Lakers would let go of him for someone else.
Then, just hours later, David Stern and the owners put the kabbash on that deal, vetoing it, leaving Lam Lam, as his wife Khloe Kardashian affectionately refers to him, to stay in Los Angeles. Shortly after this (because with lockouts these things now happen at light speed) Odom told the LA Times in an interview, “Maybe I’ll see you there tomorrow [at practice], but I doubt it. You don’t want to go to no place you’re not wanted.” Really? Let’s rewind.
Odom won the Sixth Man of the Year award last year, then essentially stopped trying, for all intensive purposes. He played good basketball, not great, but good. If you know anything about the Lakers and owner Jerry Buss, good isn’t great enough. When they were swept by the Champion Dallas Mavericks, the mediocre Lamar Odom and the invisible Pau Gasol were on the trading block like everyone else (minus Kobe, because, well, he’s Kobe). This was no secret.
When coach Mike Brown was hired in the off season, without consulting any players, including Bryant, it became obvious to anyone with a fraction of a brain that the Lakers were about business, not feelings. So, when Lamar was offered up, he felt like this was a personal attack on him. That, for some reason, the Buss family had decided to get rid of him, for personal reasons.
So sowwy Lam Lam, but nothing could be further from the truth.
This, as is every decision (unless Dan Gilbert is making it) was strictly business. By trading Odom and Gasol, the Lakers freed up a ton of money to be spent elsewhere. In his LA Times interview, Odom went further as to say, “Man, I’m just in total disbelief about all of this,” Odom continued. “They don’t want my services, for whatever reason.” Again, Lamar, this is not a personal attack on you. Your contract and position worked in a strategic way to build for the future. The Lakers were swept last year; a change is needed.
This is what happens when athletes take things personally. When it comes down to it, the NBA is a business, just like anything else (except Baseball. While I’m an avid Dodgers fan, I have no idea how that sport makes any money with these contracts).
So, Odom gets his wish, stays in Laker Land, refuses to report to camp, and wonders why they were apt to trade him. What’s wrong here?
Business is business, and should not be emotionally driven. What many players need to understand is what they signed up for. They’re basketball players who get paid millions to play a game. If they earn their money, more power to them, but even King James admitted he gave up on his team at some point. If you give up on a business, there’s a good chance it goes under. Give it your all, or don’t play at all, but when you’re getting money that most Americans won’t see in a lifetime, don’t complain when you’re just asked to move. You’re still doing what you love, and making money, which is all that anyone can ask for, isn’t it?