On Wednesday morning (or this past May...whichever), we were provided with details on a potential What If? scenario, specifically what if Lamar Odom attacked Mark Cuban on the Mavericks' bench when he was briefly playing in Dallas? That would've been pretty big news, huh?
As hinted at above, Odom actually revealed this back in May in his autobiography. But for those of us who don't own the book, or live near a library with the book, or have a library card, or any other number of plausible scenarios, an excerpt from it was published this week in the Dallas/Fort Worth-centric D Magazine.
That excerpt focused on Odom's short time in Dallas (which, duh, makes sense) and specifically focused on Odom and Cuban's almost immediately doomed relationship.
Odom says that he was acquired by Dallas during one of his life's down periods. He said that Cuban quickly grew to resent him, with Odom stating that "his goal was to make my time in Dallas as miserable as possible." The source of contention appears to have been Odom's perceived effort level and measurable production.
"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 courtside perch and proceed to hurl obscenities at me."
Odom even went so far as to provide examples of the obscenities the Mavs' owner tossed his way, including: "Hustle, dammit!” "You’re so fucking slow and out of shape," and "[You're a] waste of fucking money."
Odom says that he fantasized of walking up to Cuban and sucker-punching him, but he says he did his best to keep it cordial. That's when he got to the part about an event that nearly occurred but, luckily for all parties involved, did not, because Vince Carter was there to stop it from happening.
As the memoir put it:
During one homestand, 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.”
Odom states in words that are difficult to misinterpret "I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that Vince Carter saved me from catching a charge and ending my career in disgrace."
Odom played 50 games in Dallas during the 2011-12 lockout-shortened season. At the time the then 32-year-old posted career lows of 6.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.
As for Cuban's thoughts when this all went down, the D Magazine excerpt provided a quote that he gave ESPN back in spring 2012. That quote came after an apparent halftime clash between the two men led to Dallas listing Odom as inactive for the remainder of the season. In that quote Cuban said:
Everybody goes through ups and downs. Every player does. We tried to put him in a position to succeed. You guys saw it, saw what we did. It didn’t work. And I just asked him, does he want to go for it or not? Is he in or is he out? I think he thought we were playing poker. I just didn’t get a commitment. And that was the end. My job is to look at every player, employee, whatever and just treat them individually and put them in a position to succeed. I’ve failed miserably on this one. It’s not the first time and won’t be the last time. Move on to the next. Did I get my money’s worth? No. I don’t know that the word’s “cheated.” But did I get my money’s worth? No.