lamar odom

As his Martin Luther King Day reunion with the Los Angeles Lakers approaches, Lamar Odom has revealed that he was “real close” to walking away from the game for a season — or perhaps longer — well before his December trade to the Dallas Mavericks.

Left reeling by the July murder of his 24-year-old cousin and a fatal car accident days later that killed a teen pedestrian after the car he was riding in as a passenger collided with a motorcycle, Odom told ESPN.com that he had to be convinced by wife Khloe Kardashian to scrap his plans for a hiatus.

“Real close,” Odom said when asked Saturday how close he came to asking the Lakers for a season-long sabbatical.

“My wife talked me out of it.

“Cause I was asking myself: ‘Was I mentally prepared to play? If I didn’t play well, was I mentally prepared to help the team?’ I had thought, ‘Maybe I need a year.’ Because of the lockout, I thought, ‘Maybe somebody’s sending me a sign that I needed this time off.’

“(But) when I told some of my friends and my family that I was thinking about steppin’ back for a minute, I think the reaction from the closest people to me kind of gave me the energy to get back at it.”

– Reported by Marc Stein of ESPN.com