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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

No Avatar
61.

NYCBlackMan    

Great now he need to save lamar from those TRASHY, FRIZZY HAIRED, BUSTED, BOTTOM THROWBACK WHITEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES that he gets with! Dont hate yall know its th TRUTH!

534 days ago
62.

palermo    

and here it starts, the campaign to restore Lamar's good name LOL LOL

I'll bet he helps little old ladies cross the street too

534 days ago
63.

kitnplayn    

All the bragging in the world is not going to save you from the theft you committed through the charity organization.

534 days ago
64.

Maire    

well Lamar is either a scammer or an idiot. Don't answer the door it'll probably be the IRS. Oh and thanks for the mental pics of the Kartrashians selling their UNDERWEAR for charity

534 days ago
65.

jokerchick    

goodness, have ALL the sniper's retired? why is this family of gypsy wh0res still breathing?

534 days ago
66.

bob_bitchin    

Excuse me...does this guy have cancer?

534 days ago
67.

bob_bitchin    

Now he's gonna list every nice thing he's ever done, just to save his ass. LOLoser

534 days ago
68.

james    

The money was given to research cancer and not basketball or the homeless. He f#cked up and he needs to pay.

534 days ago
69.

Areader    

You knew TMZ would be posting a story like this any day now!

534 days ago
70.

LightJ    

Anything to make yourselves look good huh? I don't give a sh*t how many basketball players come out and say Lamar is a great guy and helped them. The f*cking charity was for cancer, that's what people thought it was going to! They are disgusting to chose this sh*t over cancer patients!!! And no 1.3 or 2.2 million went to funding this, what a load of bullsh*t.

534 days ago
71.

Chanel_MC    

Ooo yeahh make him look gud around This point In Time rite???? smh i bet somebody paid that boy off to say some sh*t like that lamar gonna Be Washed Up Soon -___-

534 days ago
72.

Truth44    

LMAO nice try on the publicity save from Kris Jenner no doubt!!! Total joke & rip off, con artist just like the Kartrashians!!!

534 days ago
73.

The New Improved Sock Puppet    

Good for him. It's a damn good thing he didn't have cancer.

534 days ago
74.

Kash511    

Maaaaaan you guys really are in Kris' palm huh? I'm loving how obvious it is!!!!

534 days ago
75.

joy    

Nice someone came to his defense.

534 days ago
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