Lamar Odom accepts Kobe Bryant's invite to attend Heat-Lakers game

ByRamona Shelburne ESPN logo
Thursday, March 31, 2016

Lamar Odom attended the Lakers' 102-100 overtime win over the Heat on Wednesday night, his first appearance at an NBA game since suffering several strokes and having kidney failure last October.

"It's a miracle, honestly," said his former Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant, who visited him as he lay in a coma in a Las Vegas hospital after being found unconscious at a brothel 90 minutes outside the city.

"In Vegas, he was [on death's doorstep]. To see him walking around now, like nothing happened. It's really a miracle. It's beyond good to see him."

Bryant invited Odom to the game and left two courtside tickets for him. Bryant said he and Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade were able to meet with Odom before and after the game. Odom and Wade grew close when they were teammates with the Heat in 2003-04, just before Odom came to Los Angeles to play with Bryant and the Lakers.

"It was just like old times," Bryant said. "We talked before the game, talked after the game and it was great just to talk basketball with him. Talk trash, it was good, it was unbelievable."

Lakers coach Byron Scott also spent some time with Odom before heading to his postgame news conference.

"It was great just to see him and talk to him for a brief second after the game before I came in here. It looks like he's doing fantastic. He's a part of the family. It is absolutely fantastic to see where he is now from what the stories we were getting a few months ago. His recovery has been a miracle. We just continue to wish him nothing but the best."

Wade tweeted a message to his former teammate after the game.

"Made losing this game not matter "as much" after getting a chance to spend time with my guy LO. #GodisGood"

Odom was given a standing ovation by the Staples Center crowd when he was shown on the scoreboard during the third quarter. He stood up during a timeout in the first quarter to hug Lakers president and co-owner Jeanie Buss.

As he left Staples Center following a postgame meeting with Bryant and Wade, Odom said "it was awesome" to be back and "I got goose bumps."

Odom played for 14 seasons in the NBA with the Los Angeles Clippers, the Heat, the Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks. He last played in the NBA in 2013.

Odom was transferred to a Los Angeles hospital in October and left for a private facility in early January.

Odom's only other public appearance was in February at a Kanye West fashion show in New York.

Bryant said he hoped the experience would help Odom in his recovery.

"This is home for him. It's been this way for many, many years," Bryant said. "It's just the feeling of being home and being loved, because we all love him and that's never going to change. L.A. loves him. We all appreciate the championships that he brought here. Without him, there's no way that we win any of those titles."

ESPN's Baxter Holmes contributed to this report.

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