Twenty-one years ago today, one of the most beloved Clippers took the floor for the first time in a Clipper uniform. It was the franchise’s first game at Staples Center, and it was the debut of the no. 4 draft pick: a smooth, do-everything 19-year-old forward named Lamar Odom.
Odom put up a stat line in his first game of 30 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, and 2 steals. No rookie has ever matched that output in his debut, not before and not since. From the moment he first suited up in an NBA game, it was clear that Odom had tremendous skill, and he had a knack for making the spectacular look simple.
Odom only lasted four years in Los Angeles during his first Clippers stint, as Donald Sterling predictably cheaped out on giving Odom his second contract, and the Miami Heat gladly swooped in to snag the versatile forward. His second go-round with the Clippers wasn’t as memorable, though he did finally get to appear in the postseason in a Clippers uniform.
The man was a walking highlight reel with his passing flair and his ability to get up for dunks. Perhaps no individual moment will surpass the behind-the-back he lob he threw to Darius Miles on the fast break after blocking a shot on the other end.
Even though the Clippers didn’t experience much team success in his tenure, Odom was an absolute delight with the Clippers. All of the Baby Clippers had so much showmanship, and Odom was no exception. He brought joy and vitality to those teams. It was sad to see him go to another team so soon in his career, but he will always be a Clipper first.
What is your favorite Lamar Odom memory?