Yesterday Lamar Odom was found unconscious at a brothel 70 miles outside of Las Vegas, Nevada and was rushed to the hospital. Though his history of drug and alcohol abuse have been well chronicled since his departure from the NBA, as well as his highly-publicized divorce from reality star Khloe Kardashian, authorities are unsure whether his condition is the result of illicit drug abuse.
Nothing could have prepared fans and well-wishers for a near death experience happening to Odom, but was the writing on the wall the whole time? Indeed, he has been through his fair share of trials and tribulations throughout his life. Hell, far more than his fair share when you break it down. His father was a heroin addict and his mother died of colon cancer when he was only 12-years-old; that is a lifetime of pain and angst stuffed into his early life. But a stern, old school rearing by his grandmother Mildred helped guide young Lamar through those early years while a stature that belied his youth gained him the attention of salivating basketball coaches very early on.
But there have always been doubts and questions as to his personal moral fiber, the result of a an alleged false ACT score of 22, claims of soliciting prostitution as a college recruit, allegations of accepting payments from a UNLV booster and his toughness on the court as well. Odom’s size, coupled with his then-unprecedented ball handling ability, led many to speculate that he would be an elite basketball player at a very early age. “Magic with a jump shot” or “a bigger, stronger Scottie Pippen” is what some believed he would be. A tremendous amount of praise to be certain, but with that praise came a great deal of pressure as well. He would spend one year at the University of Rhode Island, leading them to their only Atlantic 10 Conference title.
Drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers with the fourth pick overall, Odom would face suspension for substance abuse by his second season in the league. He would be traded to a young Heat squad that fielded Dwyane Wade and Caron Butler but would eventually be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in a deal that brought Shaquille O’Neal to the Miami Heat. With all the talent in the world, Lamar was often criticized for not being assertive enough and being too sensitive to criticism.
Pain and depression appear to have been kindred spirits with Lamar throughout his life and the death of his 6 1/2 month son Jayden of SIDS in June 2006 seemed to exacerbate that. But we only wanted to see him play basketball.
Meanwhile, Lamar needed help.
After teaming up with Kobe Bryant in L.A., Odom would reach the pinnacle of his career by winning two NBA championships for one of the league’s all-time greatest franchises. However, he would ask for a trade after feeling disrespected when it was revealed he was part of a deal that would have brought Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers, sending Odom to the Hornets. It was shot down by then commissioner David Stern and speculation followed that Odom became expendable due to the departure of Phil Jackson and his triangle offense.
He would eventually find himself in a Dallas Maverick’s uniform; however, Lamar’s time in Dallas would be brutal and brief. He would play very little for the Mavs and would even suffer the indignity of being assigned to the NBA D-League after missing three games for personal reasons. A major slap for a former All-Star player who was an integral part of two championship teams.
By April 2012 it was announced that Odom would no longer play for Dallas and it was later speculated that Lamar mentally checked out on the Mavericks after famously direct and oftentimes abrasive team owner Mark Cuban questioned Odom’s commitment at halftime of a game against the Memphis Grizzlies. He would find himself back in Los Angeles as a Clipper for the 2012-13 season but only started in 2 of the 82 games on the schedule and average career lows in points, rebounds, and minutes played.
Odom tried to play overseas in Spain, but only appeared in two games due to a back injury and would find himself on the roster of the hometown New York Knicks for the latter third of the 2013-14 season but didn’t see much burn.
In 2009, Odom married a Kardashian in a much-publicized wedding that appeared on reality TV and later starred with Khloe Kardashian in their own show on E!. But that never seemed like a good fit for the seemingly shy and reserved Odom.
After appearing to master sobriety for years, Odom was arrested in August 2013 on charges of driving under the influence to which he plead no contest. He is also alleged to have been abusing crack cocaine, marijuana and alcohol.
In December 2013, Kardashian filed for divorce and it was finalized in January of this year. Recent photos have showed an apparently emaciated and unkempt Odom and he was ridiculed in social media because it appeared he had relapsed in drug abuse.
On October 13, 2015 Lamar was found unconscious and unresponsive at a brothel. Early reports say Odom may have been succumbed to what was called a herbal form of Viagra and had a negative reaction. E! News is reporting that he "overdosed on drugs," cocaine was involved and brain damage could be possible. But there has been no official word from authorities as to the exact cause of his current state. He is in critical condition and is currently fighting for his life. Lamar Odom is only 35-years-old.