He decided he was not ready, and decided to attend the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. That same summer, he received a citation for soliciting prostitution following an undercover operation by the Las Vegas police.
After two semesters and a summer session, Odom earned his eligibility to play basketball. However, Rhode Island coach Jim Harrick persuaded three of his four instructors to allow him to make up his work. The coach also had Odom work with DeGregorio, who had become a Rams assistant and was the player's closest friend in college.
He was named the most valuable player of the Atlantic 10 Tournament after his three-pointer against Temple University at the buzzer  gave the Rams their first A Tournament title. Odom declared his eligibility for the NBA draft after his freshman year at the Rhode Island in The Clippers failed to make the playoffs again however, as the young team could not improve their positioning in the Western Conference.
He would only play in 49 games during the —03 season , and would be a restricted free agent the following summer. The Miami Heat offered a deal that the Clippers declined to match after already matching another offer the Heat made to Elton Brand.
Odom was brought in to play as the team's starting power forward, and along with the budding Wade and veteran Eddie Jones shared the scoring load with The Heat opened the season losing 7 straight games, but ended up playing better and competing for a seed in the playoffs.
On March 6, Odom posted a triple double, scoring 30 points with 19 rebounds and 11 assists in a home win against the Sacramento Kings. The Heat would go on to the clinch the 4th seed in the playoffs , facing off the New Orleans Hornets in the first round. Each team won at home, and the Heat would win a 7th deciding game to advance to the second round to face the number one seeded Indiana Pacers.
The Pacers would win the first two games in Indiana, but the Heat responded with two straight home wins, including a game 4 victory led by Odom's 22 points. The Pacers' experience proved to be too much for the younger Heat, as they would go to win games 5 and 6 to wrap up the series.
In his first year with the Los Angeles Lakers, Odom incurred a left shoulder injury which forced him to miss the end of the —05 season. However, as Los Angeles progressed towards the end of the season, his performance steadily improved.
Along the way, he posted consecutive triple-doubles for the first time as a Laker against the Golden State Warriors  and Portland Trail Blazers. Battling injuries, Odom was limited to 56 games in —07 , but finished with an average of In the month of February, Odom, playing 36 minutes per game, averaged With 15 points in the 3rd quarter, Odom helped the Lakers out of a point deficit to turn it into a point victory, breaking Cleveland's 23 game home win-streak.
Odom adjusted back to his sixth man role when Bynum returned for an April 9 home matchup versus the Denver Nuggets. In 47 games off the bench, Odom averaged His struggles [made] him a frequent target of [Mavericks coach Rick] Carlisle, who [harped] on Odom's need to understand the coverages, be more alert, communicate and get in better shape Team sources say Odom He had missed the prior three games due to personal reasons.
Instead of releasing him, the team listed Odom as inactive for the remainder of the season. The move allowed the Mavericks to trade him at the end of the season. In a statement to ESPN , Odom said, "I'm sorry that things didn't work out better for both of us, but I wish the Mavs' organization, my teammates and Dallas fans nothing but continued success in the defense of their championship.
Odom reportedly responded angrily when Cuban questioned his commitment, asking if he was "in or out. Out of shape for half the season,  he averaged career lows of 4. In July , Odom became a free agent, but did not land an NBA contract despite some interest from the Clippers in his return. He appeared in just two games for Baskonia. On July 11, , he was waived by the Knicks.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak called him "the most popular player in our locker room". He could start a fast break with an outlook pass, finish it with a layup, or simply drive from coast to coast for a dunk.