Eighteen years ago, two 12-year-old kids from Queens, New York, met for the first time, paired on the same basketball team due to their already-advanced talents.
Back then, Lamar Odom and Ron Artest could only dream to one day, somehow, be standing side by side as NBA Champions. But that, of course, is exactly what happened on Tuesday evening at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.
Among the most poignant moments during a pregame ring ceremony in which each of the nine returning Lakers from the 2010 championship team took turns introducing one another was when Odom gave Artest his ring.
Here’s how Odom put it:
I usually get nervous when I have to talk in front of people, but tonight I feel like I’m at home. It helps, because the next person I’m about to bring out I’ve known since I was 12 years old. When we were 12 years old, he was really quiet, and now he takes his clothes off on Jimmy Kimmel and he raps. But there’s nobody like him. I can’t say enough about him. We come from the same family tree in New York City of basketball, and I just want him to know that his family is proud of him. The one and only, Ron Artest.