Gossip Of The Week: Lamar Odom Befriends The Paparazzi

Lamar Odom wants to talk! To the paparazzi, no less!

This week, our celebrity gossip roundup turns its eye on Lamar Odom, as the basketball player and reality spouse did something the media never thought he’d do — he interacted with two photographers, gave them both confessional interviews and embraced the men when they were done.

After refusing to speak to the press for so long, you can bet the news shocked the heck out of me.

PHOTOS: Khloe & Lamar Over The Years

For those of you who have been too overwhelmed reading about Prince George’s christening to care, please allow me to catch you up on the latest gossip surrounding the 33-year-old NBA free agent, who has been laying low since reports of a drug relapse surfaced in August.

Lamar’s chatty behavior began on October 19. The former Laker/Clipper was reportedly at a birthday party at Tokyo Delves in North Hollywood when a young boy named Elijah approached him to take a photo. Lamar reportedly initially turned Elijah down, preferring to shake the kid’s hand instead. After a brief conversation about the merits of staying in school, staying away from drugs and how Elijah should think about playing basketball, Lamar changed his mind and decided to do the pic. The snapshot became an Internet sensation.

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However, L.O.’s big breakthrough came on Tuesday, when shutterbug Karl Larsen spotted Lamar having lunch with a friend at Sweet Butter in Sherman Oaks, Calif. Karl begins their conversation by asking Lamar what he’s eating (it was a turkey sandwich, salad and Perrier for those keeping score at home). Before we know it, Lamar engages Karl in a philosophical discussion about his relationship with his wife Khloe Kardashian, his prospects of returning to the Lakers and his outlook on life and death. Lamar also played hard-to-get with Karl, who really wanted a shot of his wedding ring.

Karl attributes Lamar’s openness that afternoon to several factors. In a phone call with Access Hollywood, Karl told me exclusively, “I think it’s the way I did the interview. I have the camera below my face so I’m more like talking to him. It has better results.”

Skills aside, the freelance investigative reporter and celebrity photographer admits the whole encounter was a little odd.

“I think maybe he’s too sheltered. I don’t know,” Karl added.

Oh yeah, and the interview ended with Lamar giving Karl a high-five and a hug. Karl swears the two are not friends.

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On Wednesday night, a videographer named Dante stumbled upon Lamar in the parking lot of Spitting Chicken Cantina, again in Sherman Oaks. This time, Lamar revealed he was invited to Kanye West’s big proposal to sister-in-law Kim Kardashian, he just chose not to go because he had other things to do. Lamar even joked around with Dante by turning his cell phone camera around on him. In the footage, Lamar deliberately showed off his wedding ring and reassured Dante that he was still in playing shape.

“Do you wanna see me with my shirt off or my pants down?” Lamar asked him. Dante chose the latter, though nothing came of the request.

The two eventually parted ways with a handshake and a side squeeze, both initiated by Lamar.

The last couple of days have proven that Lamar is, without a doubt, an emerging class act and a friendly guy. Still, something’s a little off. I mean, the man has had some hostile brushes with paparazzi in the past. Why the sudden change in attitude?

I don’t want to hate, but on behalf of all the news producers out there, I feel kind of ignored. I don’t know why Lamar chose to speak with Dante and Karl when he could have just picked up the phone and called me through the NBC switchboard. Hello, does he know how many times I’ve called his sports agent and attorney only to receive no answer back?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that, Lamar, my hunch is that your handlers are probably not telling you about me. And I know we’ve never met and I rarely hang out in the Valley. Having said that, I know you have stuff on your mind that you want to share. So, let’s do this all on camera under some better lighting— just you and me. I’ll even throw in a little cuddle if you want, though I might have to ask Khloe about it first.

-- Genevieve Wong

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