Dancing with the Stars pro Peta Murgatroyd was “intimidated” to dance with her celebrity dance partner, professional basketball player Lamar Odom, for this surprising reason, and she didn’t know if it was a situation they could overcome on the ballroom floor.
Her initial fear was all about Lamar’s formidable height!
Peta revealed in an interview with People Magazine that she was stunned at just how much taller the former Los Angeles Lakers pro basketball star was than her.
“How am I going to make this work? He is about a foot and 3 inches taller than me and I’ve seen past competitors on the show struggle with extreme height differences. What techniques will I use on him? How am I going to make him graceful?” Peta told the publication.
At 6 feet, 10 inches, Lamar’s height could have posed a problem for the ballroom professional as it could have made it difficult to choreograph a sense of flow and rhythm for many of the graceful ballroom dances required on the reality competition series. Add to that Lamar’s size 15 foot and the challenges could be very real for Peta, a former mirrorball-winning pro.
Peta has faced several difficulties before when choreographing for other athletic celebrity partners, including finding a way to train them to move their bodies in a very different way than they are used to on the playing field. She claimed victory with football star Donald Driver during Season 14 in 2012 and has also been paired alongside Los Angeles Rams star Michael Sam. But it appears that her challenges with Odom far outweigh any others she has experienced in her 12 seasons on the show. How does she plan to overcome these issues? As any Dancing with the Stars pro should — with creativity.
The dance pro revealed to People that she saw Lamar’s “sweet soul” and realized that the differences in their height could be quickly overcome by playing up to his strengths, including his welcoming attitude and a “smile that lights up the room.” His determination also impressed her, wanting viewers to see him for who he is evolving into rather than the sports star who married into a famous family and almost left this earth due to poor choices.
Lamar Odom was married to reality star Khloe Kardashian from 2009 to 2016. Their marriage difficulties were highlighted on the E! Entertainment Television series Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Being thrust into that type of celebrity brought to the surface several issues the Lakers star had dealt with in the past, including infidelity, hard-partying, and drug use.
Rolling Stone reported Lamar was near death when he overdosed in 2015 in a Nevada brothel following a night where it was later revealed he used a mix of drugs and herbal Viagra. At that time of this dangerous mix of substances, he was separated from Khloe, but she maintained a steady presence in his life for a year before they finalized their divorce.
The Inquisitr reported that Lamar is heading into his Dancing with the Stars journey on his own accord and is not looking for any help or assistance from his former in-laws, two of whom competed on the show, including Kim Kardashian West and Robert Kardashian, Jr. He is looking to score a mirrorball with partner Peta’s assistance and is hopeful that public perception will change about him as his journey on the show progresses.
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.