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Lamar Odom Gets Props

For SAVING Ex-College

Star From Streets

4/4/2013 12:50 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0403_lamar_ryan_pearson_getty_articleFormer college basketball star Ryan Pearson credits his entire career to Lamar Odom ... claiming L.O. rescued him from the streets when his family was poor and gave him a chance to be successful in life.

Pearson -- who was an Associated Press All America honorable mention during his stint at George Mason -- is now playing pro basketball overseas ... and believes it's only possible because of Odom's charitable support.

We spoke with Ryan's mother, Leslie Pearson, who tells us Ryan first met Lamar at a basketball event when he was 11 years old ... when Pearson's family was struggling financially.

Pearson says Lamar saw potential in him ... and knew he needed help ... so L.O. put him on a "life scholarship" and paid for Ryan to play on a traveling team, so he could develop his game and become visible to college programs.

Leslie says Lamar "paid for everything ... including team travel, team registration fees, buses, and meals. He also funded entire basketball tournaments around New York."

Leslie believes at least some of the funding came from Odom's Cathy's Kids charity.

We're told Lamar also paid for Ryan to attend a private high school so he could get a top-notch education and elite basketball coaching.

Odom's plan worked -- because Ryan was recruited by some of the top basketball programs in the country and eventually selected GMU -- where he majored in sports management.

As for the reports that Lamar is a scam artist who ran a shady charity operation, Pearson says there's no way that's possible ... because Lamar is a "saint" who only ever wanted to help people.

"Lamar always showed up to support the basketball team and he would have BBQs at his house for all the families and players."

For more sports stories, check out tmzsports.com!
122 COMMENTS

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16.

notalawyer    

Kris Jenner was running low on Depends Adult Diapers & Pullons...

Feeble attempt at DAMAGE CONTROL

576 days ago
17.

Pam    

If you listen to comments from her kids, (espicialky Khloe), she has stated numerous times that Kris sells her family out to highest bidder. And they all know it but the life style is to itresistable. i am sure they have helped several people, but Momma Kris will always get the greatest benefit! This may be good for Kris Humpries annulment request. While most certainly not the only people to do this, it is being exposed now!! Wouldn't it be awesome with all the comments about KH lack of intelligence, if he was the one getting this exposed!!

576 days ago
18.

Rob    

Good to hear! Great publication for Lamar. Perhaps he can also save the horrible reputation of the entire Kartrashian clan.

576 days ago
19.

KellyBFan    

consistent scam artist

576 days ago
20.

JrzGrl    

Where did this story come from? Guess momager is working overtime. Where was this story a week ago? So patently obvious that this story is to contradict all the other negative ones about his charity. I'd much rather hear them explain that one instead of trying to distract with this. Funny how quickly TMZ printed this story when asked...hmmm.

576 days ago
21.

walt    

It's nothing to do with saving face, this kids mom told the truth that Lamar is trash the kid plays basketball he doesn't have cancer this foundation is a fraud. I could careless how down and out this kid was you don't get funding from cancer research Lamar is a piece of trash along with his wife

576 days ago
22.

Diamond Goddess!    

AAANND TMZ's tongue is back firmly up the b-hole of the Klan!!!
(LOLs.)
Knew it was comin'...

576 days ago
23.

jwoolman    

One thought: The reason this guy is playing overseas is that there are only a limited number of slots for professional basketball players. I can understand the appeal of funding such things for Lamar, since he took that route himself and it worked for him. But it's actually a rather limiting option. How many pro basketball players can come from his old neighborhood, anyway? Maybe he should encourage the kids to play for enjoyment and keeping fit rather than having them travel at great expense to be "seen" by scouts, and focus on making sure they get an education unrelated to athletic skills that will open a lot more doors and give them many more options. I would look closely at how the private high schools and colleges really educate his ball players- athletes often are allowed to slide through, being viewed as fundraisers rather than as serious students since alumni are supposedly more likely to donate if their school has a winning team... This particular fellow majored in "sports management" in college, which is most likely an easy course of study to avoid intellectually challenging the athletes and is therefore another limited set of life options. I taught at a private college that was considered good, but I had "athletic scholarship" students in my general-requirement not-very-mathematical science classes who were slow readers and didn't understand 4th grade level math when they were college seniors (meaning they wouldn't know if the jumbo size was really a better bargain in the grocery store.) They were one injury away from being unemployable. They weren't stupid, just poorly educated pre-college and they never really caught up. They majored in subjects that didn't require hard thinking or a lot of reading (or numbers...). I don't know how they got through the really intensive reading/writing type required courses that culled the freshman/sophomore classes. This closed a lot of doors for them and would handicap them if they needed to switch jobs and retrain. I thought the college was reprehensible for not insisting that they get their skills up to speed before throwing them into the college curriculum, while using them to attract alumni donations, and not really expecting much academically from them.

576 days ago
24.

TylerDurden5279    

Ha! Damage control at its finest lol! Paint L.O. in a favorable light now that his previous story involves him possibly scamming a charity. Just like a politician lol!

576 days ago
25.

Rachael    

Lamar O, Kourtney the Kow's husband is a great guy. Now we all know. This Kardashian Advertisement brought to you by TMZ- promoting all things Kardashian, to the extreme, since 1885. How the F are there 3 first page stories (and 3 link-throughs) to Kardashian related Krap every single day....? They are in no way talent, stars, or even decent human beings.

576 days ago
26.

Yup    

It's a nice story, but it's not applicable to Odom's problems. His charity specifically states it solicits money for cancer research; money going to kids to play basketball is a fraudulent misappropriation of funds, and is completely illegal, especially since he's getting a HUGE tax writeoff for it, it hasn't donated a dime towards it's stated purpose & it's being operated at a loss while paying a personal friend a large salary. The IRS will disallow it's tax exempt status & will come after him & the wookie for back taxes. I'm looking forward to this further exposing what money grubbing gold digging whores the whoretrashians are...

576 days ago
27.

JrzGrl    

Remarkable timing. Ha!

576 days ago
28.

disembedded    

Well, here we have TMZ providing a platform for the Odom/Kardashian PR spin, trying to save their butts from the scam they've been pulling on donors to their so-called "charity" All I can say is shame on TMZ, and even more shame on the sleazy Odom/Kardashian Klan.

576 days ago
29.

Misfitttt    

how convienient this story comes out when during all the charity backlash.. saint my ass! more like a sinner who likes to steal from charities

576 days ago
30.

Compassion    

The timing of this is laughable, given the charity scandal that lamar is facing. I used to think it was just bluster when I read all of the posts about how tmz was so pro kardashian. But this story is just way to convienient. This isn't even a relevant news story. It's a positive spin puff piece. Gee tmz, how stupid and vapid do you think we are? Lame.

576 days ago
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