Back in May, Lamar Odom released a book titled Darkness to Light: A Memoir. The book was a chance for Odom to tell his own story about the downfall of his NBA career. In the book, he discussed everything from his upbringing to the Lakers trying to trade him, which ultimately led him down a dark road.
But one of the most revealing things he shared was the fact that he nearly came to blows with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban during his time with the Dallas Mavericks.
There was an excerpt posted in D Magazine which was centered around his short time in Dallas. It detailed the relationship between Odom and Cuban, and how it was doomed from the beginning.
Odom says he was at one of the lowest points of his life when he played for the Dallas Mavericks, which resulted in Mark Cuban partly resenting him.
“His goal was to make my time in Dallas as miserable as possible,” he wrote. Cuban’s largest issue with Odom was his effort level and production not meeting the standards Cuban determined necessary from Odom.
“He rode me constantly, talked down to me, and questioned my manhood in front of others,” Odom said. “During home games he’d grab his usual court side perch and proceed to hurl obscenities at me.”
Odom went into detail saying Cuban would yell from his seats, “Hustle, dammit!” “You’re so f*cking slow and out of shape,” and “[You’re a] waste of f*cking money.”
Odom says he’d sometimes envision himself punching Cuban in the face, but despite these fantasies, he kept their relationship cordial. He later talked about the one time he did nearly fight Cuban, but thanks to Vince Carter, that never happened.
During one home stand, I was having possibly the worst game of the season. Head coach Rick Carlisle subbed me out, and I looked for a seat near the coaches, but none were available. So I went down to the only open seat at the end of the bench. Right next to Cuban.
Cuban extended his right foot and kicked my shin. “Come on, motherfucker!” he shouted.
I was stunned. This wasn’t a tap. I felt it. That was the last straw. It was painfully clear he did not respect me as a man. I felt the adrenaline rush through my body. In an instant I was transported back to Linden Boulevard, where the slightest act of disrespect could be fatal. As I sprang up, Vince Carter, who was sitting next to me, grabbed my arm tightly and leaned in.
“LO, chill out,” Vince calmly said. “Don’t do it. It’s not worth it.”
That would have been an absolute catastrophe for Odom. Imagine him landing a punch right to the face of Cuban in the middle of a game. He would have likely been charged with assault, and though his 13-year NBA career was coming to a close, the incident would have done so in a very disgraceful way.
Odom minces no words when he says “I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that Vince Carter saved me from catching a charge and ending my career in disgrace.”
Despite Odom’s transgressions, he will still be remembered by many as a two-time NBA Champion and Sixth Man of the Year. That’s much better than being known as the man who punched an NBA owner in the face.