Lamar Odom says Kobe tried to help with gambling debts in one of their final talks

At one point, Odom reached out to him, he said, after he "gathered up the strength and put my pride to the side."

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Retired Los Angeles Lakers star Lamar Odom recently revealed that his longtime teammate, late basketball legend Kobe Bryant, tried to help him pay off his gambling debts. 

Odom was a guest on All The Smoke with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, fellow retired NBA players. 

This 2008 photos shows then-Los Angeles Lakers players Lamar Odom (left) and Kobe Bryant (right) having a playful moment on the bench at The Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

On the hour-long podcast recorded on March 22, Odom shared that at one point, he owed more money than he could afford and reached out to Bryant, only after he “gathered up the strength and put my pride to the side.”

“’I had been gambling,’ Odom said. ‘It got a little too steep for where I was at at that time. 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.’

He said the late legend “went in” scolding him, but Bryant also said he would help him. “That was one before the last time that I spoke to him,” said Odom.

He and Bryant were Los Angeles Lakers teammates for seven seasons, and they won two championship titles together in 2009 and in 2010. 

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After Bryant’s death in January 2020 — along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven of their friends and teammates — in a tragic helicopter crash, Odom shared his thoughts on Instagram

“On the court,” he wrote of Bryant, “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. … Even though our relationship wasn’t father/son, it was more like him being a teacher and me being his brother.”

In the All The Smoke interview, Odom also spoke about his own 2015 health crisis, one in which he nearly died after a drug overdose.

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“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.” 

Kobe Bryant will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame this May. The ceremony had been previously scheduled and delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Michael Jordan will pay tribute to the late Laker during the ceremony. 

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