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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!
123 COMMENTS

No Avatar
1.

IwuvTMZ    

Trying to save face.

380 days ago
2.

Jordan    

If one dollar came from Cathy's Kids to support one Athlete that alone constitutes a Charitable Fraud. Lamar Charity gets better than tax deduction it gets a tax exempt status which means any money that goes into the Charity the Charity pays no taxes, and if Lamar wanted to buy a house or a car he can pay for it with the charity and pay zero taxes on that purchase.

380 days ago
3.

GetReal    

Of course TMZ is pulling this card out !! momma HoJenner Musta grilled their A$$

380 days ago
4.

lilibahamas    

Did he have Cancer?

It is a Cancer charity and if Lamar wanted to help out this poor but talented kid why didn't he do it from his own pockets?

The ones that pay Tax And do not scam donors!

Sounds more like Lamar's Kids! Lol

380 days ago
5.

Phreaky    

Oh please - they reallyyyyy want us to believe Lamar spent MILLIONS, not thousands, but MILLIONS on a couple of inner-city basketball groups for kids? If he did, he's the biggest idiot in the world, and if he didn't, well..... I mean, come on, he coulda given each kid on the team like 200k, how much could you spend on a team of kids?
And now this kid comes forward and says Lamar paid for everything - oh really? So you were the only one he helped? Or the only one he could get on the phone fast enough to have you "speak" to the media?

380 days ago
6.

Jordan    

How come in 8 years one NBA player either gave Money or time. the rest of the NBA gave nothing to this So Called Charity. Not Players coaches or owners. No one except Kobe and he is not saying that he gave money or time.

380 days ago
7.

Jordan    

It just shows that the Kardashian do not believe that it is a real charity because Kim could not get her friends to donate or business people she works with or her baby daddy. Loser Kim could not get on person to give money to this charity because it is a fraud.

380 days ago
8.

Hot Farts    

Once u kiss the ring of Pimp Mom, her stink is on you. Better get away from the KKK

380 days ago
9.

JLS    

So what happened here IS that Kris Jenner dug this dude out to do some intense damage control. I've never seen a more sickening post on this website. I'm choking on the sugar from it. And the statement he supposedly made that said Lamar is a "saint" is just so far over the top I laughed and laughed. My God, TMZ. This Kardashian thing is like a disease for you.

380 days ago
10.

Decker    

(Atheist) Bill Gates is giving ALL his Billions to charity and we're meant to call (Devout Christian) Lamar a saint :) Happy Easter everyone !!

380 days ago
11.

Ann    

Please TMZ really you think this takes away from him being a crook? Maybe Ryan can watch his house while he is in jail.

380 days ago
12.

Michael    

He's pulling out all the stops to make it look like he did something good in the past. Pretty sad but what ever. He's a celebrity he will gt away with it like all the others.

380 days ago
13.

Inconceivable!    

Kris Jenner is trying way too hard(and really using TMZ) to try and convince the public Lamar is not a crook.

380 days ago
14.

Mrugowsky    

That story doesn't cut ice;I'm not buying it.

380 days ago
15.

jwoolman    

It's not wrong to set up a tax-deductible conduit for projects near and dear to your heart that qualify as charitable. (That's a better use of tax money than just buying more bombs, which is what the feds will do with a big chunk of it.) I can believe that such projects are something Lamar wants to fund. The only question is what he's promising the other donors and how his charity is accounting for income and expenses and who is getting paid to run it and how much. The complication is his connection with the Kardashian grifters. I wouldn't trust Mama Ten Percent any further than I could throw her, and I have trouble picking up a 15 lb cat. The Kardashians have a long history of setting up charities (and even a tax exempt church) that do little for the money other than reduce Kardashian taxes and funnel funds back to them in various creative ways. If Lamar's charity is untainted by the Kardashians and he's just a bit murky about how it works, he's okay as long as the proper information is tracked. But if the Kardashians are involved in any way- he should head for the hills now!

380 days ago
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