The Humility of Lamar Odom


To my knowledge, Lamar Odom (power forward for the L.A. Lakers) is not a Christian. Yet he models a humility that should be the goal of every Christian athlete, and in reality, every Christian. Sports Illustrated recently ran an article about Odom which contained the following quotes:

The Los Angeles D-Fenders are the Lakers’ developmental-league affiliate; they practice in the same gym and play on the same court as the NBA players but reap few of the other benefits. “Most guys at that level [of Lamar Odom] don’t have time for us,” says guard Brandon Heath. “But L.O. is always telling us to come over to his house, offering to take us out to dinner.”

I love that humility! It reminds me of Romans 12:16: “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.”

The article continues:

Sharing has long been part of his game. Growing up, Odom’s idol was Magic, not Michael. He preferred to dish rather than dunk. “When we had college scouts come watch us, he wouldn’t shoot,” says Arbitello [a former teammate]. “He wanted to make everybody else look good.”

This attitude is the exact opposite of mine. I want to make myself look good. I want to be the high-flying, high-scoring, player of the game who impresses everyone. And not just in sports. In every other aspect of life as well. I want to be the guy that looks good, and I don’t get excited when someone else is praised. Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

Finally, Odom’s personal trainer says:

Lamar’s a pleaser. He wants to throw you an alley-oop and give you a pound on the way back down.

I want to be like Lamar. I want to celebrate and rejoice in the successes of others.


  • Wendy says:

    That’s very encouraging!! I am the same way- I’m so concerned with people being impressed with me that it can consume so many litle parts of my life. If I want people to be impressed by me then I have to think about it all the time, analyzing everything that I’m doing. If I am thinking about that all of the time, then obviously I am not thinking about giving glory to God or showing His love to the people around me. This is a good example- Christian or not- of how we need to be. Remember the people around us and show God’s love to them. Thanks for another good reminder!

  • Mike Lovely says:

    Thanks for highlighting the humility of L.O. It is becoming more difficult to find examples like this. I’ll be sharing with my two athlete sons!

  • Stephen Altrogge says:

    Wendy – It so freeing to be more concerned with glorifying God and elevating others than with glorifying myself.

    Mike – It is so difficult to find humility. Highlight it when you find it!

  • David says:

    This is a wonderful and excellent post. I thought you might be interested in this article about Lamar Odom’s new clothing line emphasizing Christian images and values. Perhaps he is a Believer.

    “For years I’ve been seeing my young brothers wearing Scarface T-shirts, John Gotti T-shirts, Rick James T-shirts,” Odom told ESPN Page 2?s Sam Alipour. “We don’t have any icons or idols to look up to, just rappers and professional athletes. Before us, it was pimps and drug dealers. Remember when Jay-Z wore a Che Guevara T-shirt? Nobody knew who Che was. Then Jay-Z wears it, and it’s everywhere. That’s what I’m trying to do with this. My Man [Jesus Christ] don’t get his props and he’s the biggest icon in the world.”

    The idea for the line came to Odom in May after he went home to New York after the Lakers lost their series in the playoffs. He was disappointed in the condition of his neighborhood and the mindset of the people living there.

    “Where I’m from, you’re a square if you go to church, or if you decide to read the Koran or Bible,? Odom said. You’re not cool unless you’re standing on the corner selling drugs or smoking weed. If we can get some of their idols wearing this T-shirt, then maybe my brothers will want to talk and walk like Him.”

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