Lamar Odom Says Kobe Bryant Offered to Help Him with Gambling Debt During One of Last Calls
While appearing on the All the Smoke podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, Odom said he needed support after accumulating debt due to gambling, and he gave Bryant — his former teammate on the Los Angeles Lakers — a call.
"I had been gambling. It got a little too steep for where I was at at that time," Odom recounted on the podcast, which was recorded on March 22. "It was getting tight. And if you in a bad situation, especially about some money, [Bryant] ain't the one that you gonna wanna call."
"I gathered up the strength. I put my pride to the side," he continued. "And I gave him a call."
Recalling the conversation, Odom said Bryant scolded him for his gambling habits, then let him know he was willing to help.
"After he went in, he was just like, 'Have your people call my people, and we'll figure it out,' " Odom said. "That was one before the last time that I spoke to him."
During their time on the Lakers, Bryant and Odom won back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010. Odom was named the Sixth Man of the Year during the 2010-11 season.
When Bryant died along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash in January 2020, Odom penned a touching tribute to him on social media.
"He taught me so many things in life that were necessary on and off the court," Odom wrote on Instagram at the time. "On the court he taught me how to carve out defenses and how to take my time. How to make winning my ultimate goal. Off the court he taught me to sign my own checks lol."
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Though Odom is only about a year younger than Bryant, he said that his former teammate taught him a lot.
"Even though our relationship wasn't father/son, it was more like him being a teacher and me being his brother," Odom — who was hospitalized and near death following an overdose in 2015 — wrote, in part.
"I know I been through my own stuff in life with using drugs and not being good to myself," he said. "When I went through that Coma situation if God would have came to me and said we would take me and spare Kobe I would have rather that happened."
Also during the All the Smoke interview, Odom reiterated again that he "learned so much from [Kobe]."