Lamar Odom And His Basketball Legacy

As more news on Lamar Odom’s recovery circulates the media, commentators and influencers in the basketball industry are fighting back to hold on to Lamar Odom’s legacy as a basketball player, despite numerous attempts, both conscious and unconscious to tie his identity strictly to the Kardashians. Thankfully Lamar Odom is in a better condition than he was last week, still it is worth it to understand Lamar Odom’s fall from grace and the media’s ravenous attempt to salvage information about his life.

In this article by Bleacher Report titled “ The Rise and Fall of Lamar Odom”, the lead writer quotes ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy in describing Odom. Gundy wrote

“A lot of people have wasted a lot of time thinking about who they want Lamar Odom to be rather than appreciating him for who he us. I always look back at where he started. In stories like his, you don’t see a lot of happy endings, so when you do see one, I think it should be celebrated.”

Odom was once of the best reserve players in basketball, and he seemed to be on his own way to a happy ending. He reached a point in his career that seemed to be fitting for a foreign player once touted a one one of the most talented. Fans looked at Odom to provide the answer and he always delivered. Not only did his skill and size prove to be an asset, but Odom’s litany of life experiences also added to his charm as a player. Fans and commentators were aware of the trials and tribulations Odom faced, and he was not alone. With his Lakers family everything seemed achievable even with a history of drug abuse on the part of his father, and the untimely death of his mother. At Christ the King Regional High School, Lamar would set himself apart as one of the strongest players in his class, and then opportunities seemed possible.

His beginning were rife with obstacles many people never climb out of, but basketball proved to be a way out, a story which is common amongst many players. Left in the care of his grandmother after his mother’s succumb to cancer when he was 12, Odom got a better chance in life because of this figure in his life. Lamar’s life on the court will eventually mirror the challenges he faced in his personal life.

To learn more about the Rise and Fall of Lamar Odom, visit this article by The Bleacher Report

Blake Rubin is a real estate development professional and a basketball enthusiast.

The Sublime History of Basketball

Today, in 2015, more than 300 million people play basketball worldwide. What’s crazy to think about is that this worldwide phenomenon was invented as an alternative to the dangerous sport of football. In December 1981 James Naismith, a Canadian physical education instructor in Springfield, Massachusetts, created basketball when he was given instructions from the head of physical education at his school to create a safe indoor game that would provide an “athletic distraction” for a rambunctious class during the harsh New England winter. He tasked himself with creating a game for the students that involved skill as opposed to one that relied solely on strength.

After some trial and error basketball was created. However, the original game of basketball wasn’t basketball the way that we know it today. The first game of basketball included his entire class of 18 students. Nine players on each team used a soccer ball and peach baskets to play the game. The rules were vastly different from the ones used presently. Instead of dribbling and throwing the ball players batted the ball with their hands and had to throw it to their teammates while standing still. Additionally, they weren’t allowed to run while holding the ball. A foul occurred when a player struck the ball with their fist. While the rules of James Naismith’s game were obviously not exactly the same, many other rules were similar to the ones of present day basketball. A goal was made when the ball was thrown or batted from the ground into the peach basket, which was nailed to the lower railing of the gym balcony, and stayed there. The referee kept the time and was the judge of the ball; he decided when it was in play, and which team got possession. Whichever team scored the most amount of goals in the time allotted was declared as the winner. While many of the thirteen original rules of basketball were different from present day basketball’s rules, it is clear how present day basketball originated from James Naismith’s indoor game.

Since its creation in 1981 basketball has become one of the most popular sports worldwide. As early as 1893 the YMCA began to introduce basketball to many other nations. In 1936 it was included in the Berlin Olympics. On June 6th, 1946 the Basketball Association of America was founded in New York City. In 1949, after merging with the rival National Basketball League, the NBA was born. As of the early 21st century, the NBA is the most powerful professional league in the United States. It’s crazy to think that a sport that was created to keep a group of unruly students entertained quickly turned into a worldwide phenomenon.


To learn more about the history of basketball visit and


The Chinese Fascination With Basketball

In this article by the Atlantic, the writer highlights why Basketball is China’s biggest sport. Did you know that an estimated 300 million Chinese people play basketball? This is roughly equivalent to the population of the United States. The Atlantic writes that “Many Americans are just now learning of China’s enthusiasm for the sport as the success of Jeremy Lin, a California-born Knicks player of Chinese heritage, becomes an international phenomenon. But the sport is almost as old in the land of Lin’s ancestors, and maybe even more popular, than it is in the U.S.”

Basketball was introduced to China over a century ago by YMCA missionaries just a few years after the game’s 1891 invention in Springfield, Massachusetts. After that, it seeped into the fabric of Chinese lives. Until the NBA arrived in early 1990s, basketball had come to feel so intrinsically Chinese, most people did not even associate it with America. Unlike in the U.S., where a garden of sports — from baseball to football to ice hockey — all play a part in shaping a diverse athletic landscape, in China, basketball is perhaps the only true national sport, the only sport that brings together people of all backgrounds and kindles the nation.

Blake Rubin - Warriors

Some of the first groups that embraced basketball in China were mostly college students, western-minded scholars, and, most importantly, members of the Communist party, who loved the sport for its cohesive power. You would be surprised to know this but during the Long March (the Red Army’s storied year-long retreat in the 1930s to evade the Nationalist army), Communist soldiers and officers played basketball to lift their spirits and boost solidarity.

The Atlantic reports that “From 1949 to the early 1980s, the first-rate basketball players were all from the military teams, with the Bayi at the top,” recalls Wang Yongzhi, the associate editor in charge of Olympic sports coverage at, China largest web portal. He was referring to the Bayi Rockets, an all-military men’s team named after the founding date of the PLA (bayi means August 1). It dominated Chinese basketball well into the 1990s, producing stars such as Wang Zhizhi, China’s first player to enter the NBA.

Though the sport was favored by the country’s old military system, the Bayi team couldn’t keep up with the changes of the 1990s and saw its dynasty decline as commercial basketball leagues entered the market and started importing foreign players. Most recently, the team captured international media coverage for brawling with players of the Georgetown Hoyas in a supposedly friendly match last fall. The trajectory from then to now is endless.

To learn more about China and basketball, visit this article by  The Atlantic

Lamar Odom Under Life Support, How Did We Get Here?

have written a lot about identity diversification in basketball and how a lack of this process in career development affects the athletes when they are through with their careers. This week, the world learned about the shocking news of Lamar Odom who was found unconscious at a Nevada brothel. Sources claim that he fell unconscious after using sexual performance enhancing medication and cocaine. Odom is reportedly on life support for the second day and sources claim that not only was he on cocaine, he also took a large amount of herbal viagra. Odom has been battling a drug problem for years now, and this is of no news to the public, who also learned of the death of one of his best friends this year, still from a drug problem.

Reuters reports that “This week in a news conference on Wednesday, Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly said authorities received an emergency call from panicked brothel staff, reporting that Odom was unconscious and had blood and a white substance coming from his nose and mouth.” I can’t imagine how scary this must have been for both his family and his friends, who have had to witness a prior death in their social circle.

lamar odom

Reuters also reported that “The staff told authorities that Odom had used cocaine. And they confirmed his usage on Saturday but were unsure if it had continued,” Wehrly said.

The callers said Odom had taken as many as 10 tablets of a herbal sexual enhancement supplement, Wehrly said.

Love Ranch owner Dennis Hof said during Odom’s three-day stay he had taken large amounts of “herbal Viagra,” a non-prescription product which can dramatically lower blood pressure and interact with other medications. I can’t help wondering how they could have allowed him to get to this level. Maybe if someone had been there to tell him to stop it would not have gotten this far.

The former basketball star has been rumored to have struggled with drug use.

The rise in erratic behavior on the part of Odom has been linked to his failed marriage, losing his career and a prior history with drug abuse. Where would identity diversification fit into this category? Perhaps Odom could have done with owning more businesses or tackling a life outside basketball as soon as his career ended. I hope that things get better for him.

Behind every great man, there’s a great woman.. on reality TV

Basketball players get a lot of flack from the general public. Today they are hated and tomorrow they are loved. It’s hard to see the value in what players do when the fame ultimately catches up to them. We have seen stars rise and fall even while sitting on the throne, and as we also know, the throne is not always open for seating. Kings come today and leave tomorrow. This fluctuation in assets can be attributed to poor money management, generous giving of cash to family and friends and bad habits which plague everyone from time to time.

Players like Allen Iverson and Charles Barkley are famous for being financially irresponsible, squandering money on gambling and poor management. Barkley apparently lost a whooping $10 million to gambling, Jason Caffey who filed for bankruptcy after losing $35 million has also fathered 10 children with eight women, and a failure to pay child support landed him in a hot mess in 2010. Antoine Walker lost $110 million from spending on assets like cars, real estate in bad housing markets and gambling habits. The list is endless when it comes to basketball players who are financially irresponsible.

No truer fall will be forgotten than the fall of Allen Iverson, who’s on and off presence in court, a four month stint in jail and an incredulous support of over 50 members of his family and his friends led him to file for bankruptcy a few years ago. Iverson’s life on the rocks, as highlighted in this article, explains the rise and fall of the star, whose career swung between a heavy past and a an uncertain career on the court.

After the money problems, comes the women problems or so it seems. This pattern of “trouble” for basketball players not only outlines how financial mismanagement or a lack of financial literacy is instrumental in ruining the life and career of athletes, but also the need for identity diversification in sports. If more athletes looked to careers or opportunities beyond basketball, perhaps the fall, when it comes, might not be that hard.

VH1’s surprisingly hit franchise Basketball Wives LA and Basketball Wives Miami, showcases the lives of basketball … girlfriends or divorced wives of famous athletes as they navigate a social circle and it’s nuances together. What one can gather from this show is that the lifestyle of athletes may not always be glitz and glamour. Leaving in their wake, broken hearts, upset wives and girlfriends, superstar athletes seem to have a lot on their plate despite all the money problems . You can take a hint from this video below

Ball Is Life : The Importance of Identity Diversification in Sports

In this article, Mark Manson writes on the importance of identity diversification, not just for regular people but also for athletes. Time and time again, we have seen athletes, even beyond the scope of basketball, retire from their careers and succumbing to mental illness and depression. It’s hard to understand this if all your life you have been geared towards different options for success in your life.

Unlike the civilians they interact with, and I use that word sparingly, most athletes have lived for one thing alone- the sport. The phrase “Ball is life” may not always be a great one, and may be potentially harmful if taken too literally. What happens to the athlete when there is no more ball?

A topic not always covered in the news. but both college athletes and the ones who ended up drafted into the major leagues are susceptible to major health problems. The Acupuncture Report, writes that, “the athlete is left with feelings of loss and a loss of purpose, and often asks himself or herself, silently, Now what do I do?” With intense schedules and training geared towards a stagnant goal for years on end, most athletes “crash” when they reach a peak in their career. We have seen this play out in the lives of many athletes in basketball, tennis, and boxing.

If athletes are liable to experience depression towards the end or during the fall of their careers, what is the best way for them to prepare, especially if they are already down the road? Mark Manson’s identity diversification theory might be the solution. This theory posits that the individual must see their life beyond the instituted goal. Instituted meaning the goal they have worked on for the duration of their life.

Manson writes about the American Football player Junior Seau, who committed suicide some years after retiring, and William “Refrigerator” Perry and his descent into depression after retiring from a long sports career. These men share the unfortunate commonality of a life without identity diversification, one where they focused on other things they cared about except sports. Manson posits that we must begin to give ourselves chances by honing in on the other parts of our lives which need work. The parts beyond our jobs, sports, exams lest we give only one thing meaning.

To learn more about Identity diversification and the lives of retired athletes visit Acupuncture Report and the works of Mark Manson

5 Highest Paid Basketball Players

When we watch our favorite teams playing, we also forget that a big portion of sports is business. The trading of players, the buying of teams, the endorsement, it’s all business my friends.

The NBA, though not on the same revenue generating level as soccer, is the third sport after the NFL and MLB with high revenue generation in the U.S. This can be attributed to the rise in TV revenue,  international sports marketing and branding.

While many of the all-time greatest basketball players of the past 20 years have received the highest payment of all time, these years also led to some large contracts for some otherwise mediocre players, or players most people would be surprised to learn are being rewarded heavily.

Here is a list of 5 players who have made at least $142 million.

1. Kevin Garnett

With a record breaking $315,372,398, Garnett’s nine seasons have something to show for. He has also earned $28 million per season.

2. Shaquille O’ Neal

Not one to shy away from the spotlight, O’ Neal’s hefty $292,198,327 reflects his highest season salary reaching for $27.7 million a year. O’Neal has also played in 15 all star games, and 4 championships.

3. Kobe Bryant

The total earnings for Bryant add up to $279,738,062. He has played in 16 all star games and won 5 Championships.

4. Tim Duncan

Duncan has won 5 championships and received a neck breaking $224,709,155 in overall earnings . Duncan’s play has also earned him a $22.2 million salary. What’s not to love?

Spurs' Duncan points to the bench during a break in play against the Heat during Game 3 of their NBA Finals basketball playoff in San Antonio

5. Dirk Nowitzki

With 16 seasons under his belt, Nowitzki earnings amount to $187,675,468.  He is followed by Jason Kidd, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, all of whom have earned above the $170,000,000 mark.

For more information, visit this article by Business Insider


Love Them Or Hate Them It’s Still An Obsession

Remember that song “Cult of Personality”? Well, LeBron James can pretty much fit into the list of historical figures in the song by rock band Living Color. I’m not making this up. Whether there is love or hate for the people we regard as celebrities, there is no denying that in some way it’s still an obsession.

According to a Harris Poll Survey, 2220 were asked to name their favorite sports star, and lo and behold- LeBron James. Michael Jordan made it to second place on the list and according to the survey. As of 2013, Michael Jordan was also the most loved athlete in the country.

lebron james

But wait.

James would not be a cult of personality if there were no opposing views to counteract this act of likeness. According to this same survey, King James also tops the list as one of the most hated athletes in the country. Business Insider also reports that Serena Williams is the most loved athlete, followed by Danica Patrick in second place and her sister Venus Williams.


What makes athletes endearing? Does the answer lie in their skill set? Perfomance? Recovery?  LeBron James’ s prowess on the court has been compared to that of Michael Jordan and other athletes who have come before him, but does all this still accrue to legend status? Though critics say LeBron is nowhere near legend status like Michael Jordan, he is close!


If LeBron achieves legend status today, would that be because of the love people have for him as an athlete? or would that attribute to the the sole power and skill he displays in the game. We may never know, but LeBron has proved himself continuously as a man who has set himself apart from the rest not just on people’s respect but also his dedication to the game and his own success as an athlete.

A Basketball Player in Cuba: The Anthony Carmelo Vice Feature

Carmelo Anthony is one basketball player who seems to be loved by all. VICE News recently covered Anthony’s trip to Cuba where he was greeted by scores of enthusiastic fans. It was his first time in Cuba, and from this video stream we get to see the global appeal of basketball. In an interesting fashion, Anthony’s visit to Cuba through VICE was to explore the rising interest in soccer in the country. This is a feature where basketball meets the rise of soccer.

I have written about how the availability of infrastructure and resources can influence people’s gravitation towards sports, marketing, branding and even training. Cuba’s history and economical decline have drastically affected how sports has grown in the country. The New York Cosmos travelled to Cuba to play against a domestic cuban team which is another way to build international relations between the two countries as icy foreign relations begin to thaw.

Walking around Old Havana, Carmelo Anthony can not even believe that he has so many fans. This disbelief can be matched by the true value of international branding , a strong goal and initiative the NBA is trying to push forward. We see Anthony mixing with the locals, talking to people on the street and trying cigars. The people are welcoming and it takes him no time at all to really get settled. Cuba is still untapped as a place for sports potential. One particular community organizer comments on how easy soccer is for the people to learn. Soccer is easier to learn and take up because it does not require as much initial spending on facilities and gear much like basketball or other sports. Soccer is now the sport being promoted amongst the youth in Cuba.

Cubans are ready to be seen by the world. They are ready to be known and to show what they can give. Lets hope we are ready. Check out the video by VICE news below.


You Can’t Shoot The Same Shot Twice

You can’t shoot the same shot twice. I’m sure you might have known this already. I initially wrote on this article and it’s reasoning behind shooting the same shot twice. I however wanted to highlight the idea of shots , more so with shots representing a career rather than a point throw at a basketball game. Many famous people on your TV screens and phones now, have taken multiple shots at their careers. The story of Alexander Graham Bell and his repetitive attempts to invent the telephone is one recounted around the world to build inspiration, affirming the need for perseverance in the face of challenges. So going back to the “You can’t shoot the same shot twice”. It might not be possible to make the same mistakes you made and end up in the same place if you are self-aware and looking to succeed. Here are some athletes who have taken a first, second and even third shot at their career.

This article tells us about famous people who failed at their first career attempt.

Michael Jordan: Most people know this famous quote by Michael Jordan “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Well, Michael said this to reflect on the challenges he faced in building a career as an athlete.


Stan Smith: Used to be a ball bow for a tennis club, and even got kicked out of a tennis match because event organizers felt he was too clumsy and uncoordinated. Smith went on to prove them wrong, showcasing his not-so-clumsy skills by winning Wimbledon, U. S. Open and eight Davis Cups.

Sport, Tennis, All England Lawn Tennis Championships, Wimbledon, England, 3rd July 1971, Mens Singles Final, Defending Champion, Australia's John Newcombe, holds the trophy aloft after winning the tournament by beating USA's Stan Smith 6-3, 5-7, 2-6, 6-4,

Babe Ruth: Most people don’t know that Babe Ruth once had a record number of strikeouts. In responding to an inquiry about this part of he responded, he could be quoted saying  “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”


The goal here is to never give up, or rather to persevere through unfavorable circumstances. You never know what the next shot can do for your career.