It's official: Lamar Odom will not be a part of this year's All-Star Game. The NBA announced today Commissioner David Stern's choice to replace Yao Ming on the Western Conference squad, and it's Kevin Love.
No real surprise, but still a little disappointing. Certainly it is to Odom. "[It comes] just knowing I'm in that mode. I feel like my game is at that level," he said before Thursday's game. "That's just how it goes."
Building a case for Odom's inclusion isn't hard, but given the depth of competition in the Western Conference this season -- particularly among forwards -- his exclusion is hardly a crime. Listening to Odom talk about the situation Thursday, it was pretty clear he understood his best chance to make the team over the course of his career had likely passed. It's a shame, but as Andy noted, perhaps some guys are just destined never to be All-Stars.
Perhaps there could be a silver lining, both for Odom and fans who wanted to see him on the team. Asked if he'd use this as motivation going forward, he tried to play it down. "Not right now. We have enough to be motivated over, here. Playing to win, to compete for a championship, so that's pretty much it. And my pride I've got to have as a player," he said. "To flip it, mentally, you want to play games with yourself, to get yourself in the right frame of mind, you know what I mean? To always be aggressive, to be on attack."
At the very least, it doesn't sound like Odom plans on easing off the gas after a fantastic first 50 games, and being left off the ASG roster could play a role in the mental "games" he references.