According to TMZ, when Ryan Pearson was 11 years old his family was struggling financially. Pearson’s mother, Leslie, says Odom took him under his wing, seeing the potential in him, and gave him the opportunity to play basketball. Odom paid for all aspects for Pearson to compete on a traveling team, and even paid for him to attend a private school and receive a first-rate education.
Leslie Pearson says that she believes some of the funding for her son’s basketball endeavors came from Odom’s Cathy’s Kids charity, while some came from Odom personally. Odom is among several athletes who have been accused of running sketchy charities or misusing funds, although the Pearsons have a hard time believing that.
“[Odom] paid for everything,” says Leslie Pearson, ” … including team travel, team registration fees, buses, and meals. He also funded entire basketball tournaments around New York.”
Ryan Pearson went on to become an Associated Press All America honorable mention at George Mason University, and currently plays for BC Hoverla in the Ukrainian Super League. To this day Pearson credits his career to Odom.