With Kobe Bryant's legendary career winding down, the five-time NBA champion wanted one of his favorite Los Angeles Lakers teammates ever to be present for one of his final games.
That's why the Black Mamba invited Lamar Odom to the Staples Center Wednesday night to catch him play against the Miami Heat. And LO was more than happy to accept the invitation, making his first appearance at an NBA game since having several strokes and kidney failure just last October.
"It's a miracle, honestly," Bryant told ESPN of Odom's recovery. "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."
Odom, too, was thrilled to be there, telling ESPN, "it was awesome" to be back at Staples Center and that he "got goose bumps."
Bryant and Odom have history in Purple and Gold, helping lead the Lakers to back-to-back NBA titles from 2009-10.
"It was just like old times," Bryant told ESPN. "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."
Odom even got to see the struggling Lakers pull out an overtime victory over Miami, despite Bryant only scoring two points.
Dwyane Wade, who also counts Odom as a former teammate with the Heat from 2003-04, was also happy to see his friend back and doing well.
After the Lakers traded Odom in 2011, the versatile forward was really never the same on the court, exiting the league just two years later.
Despite playing for four teams over the course of his 14-year NBA career, L.A. was Odom's favorite.
"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."
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