By G. Brown
Lamar Odom remains in critical condition and relying on machines to assist in performing routine body functions like life support to help him to breath and dialysis to help with failing kidneys according to CBS News. ESPN reports the NBA champ is in a coma, but he has made some small steps in progress the first 24 hours after he was hospitalized following his collapse Tuesday at a Las Vegas brothel.
Just as there are conflicting reports about Odom’s condition, there are also conflicting reports about whether or not drugs played a part in his collapse. The owner of the Love Ranch brothel initially told news agencies that Odom was only taking herbal viagra, now other employees say Odom’s 4-day, $75k stay was paired with cocaine use.
Odom’s two children and father flew from New York to stand by his side. Khloe and other members of the Kardashian family are also sitting vigil at the hospital. Odom married Khloe in 2009, but she filed for divorce in 2013. Some reported the divorce was finalized this past July, but latest reports say the proceeding has not received final approval from a judge at this point.
So many prayers and words of encouragement have poured in from fans and friends at Odom’s darkest hour. Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson also flew to the hospital to show his support for the man he described as “poetry in motion” on the basketball court and who was accustomed to “fighting” for the win.
Fighting is something it seems Odom has done his entire life. One of his first battles was the fight of a broken heart when he lost his mother. Odom was only 12 years old. The colon cancer that claimed her life virtually left him without a parent while his Dad battled his own demons in the form of a heroin addiction. Odom was raised by his grandmother in Queens, New York where his basketball skills were nurtured and began to flourish. By 1997, Odom was named Player of the Year by Parade Magazine and during his senior year in high school, USA Today listed him on its All-USA 1st Team.
Odom moved half-way across the country to attend the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV) only to find the basketball ability that was bringing him such positive attention also brought negative focus. Odom was accused of cheating on his ACT because of what Sports Illustrated called an unexpectedly high score. That same summer, Odom was caught up in an undercover Las Vegas police sting on prostitution. Odom eventually transferred to the University of Rhode Island after being involved in a scandal when the NCAA discovered he received thousands of dollars from a local booster.
The 6-foot-10-inch forward started his pro career with the Los Angeles Clippers where he was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2000. His stellar performance on the court and 17.2 points per game average stole the spotlight. But lurking in the shadows were the first hints of a drug problem. Odom was suspended for violating NBA anti-drug policy—some say for marijuana use. His star would continue to rise with advancements to the Miami Heat, L.A. Lakers, the U.S.Olympics team and two NBA championships.
Off the court, Odom was a businessman with a music and film company and made TV appearances in commercials and TV series. He was also a Dad with three children…Destiny, Lamar Jr, and Jayden. In 2006, Jayden was sleeping in his crib when he suddenly stopped breathing. The 6-month old baby was later determined to have died from SIDS–a death that would be devastating to any parent. Odom handled his grief away from the glare of cameras, but soon his life would be in the full spotlight with his marriage to Khloe Kardashian.
Their wedding was a reality show dream–featured in 2010 on “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”. Odom and Khloe would go on to star in their own short-lived reality spin-off, “Khloe & Lamar”. After only two seasons, it was canceled. Then Odom’s secret of alcohol and drug abuse became news headlines. Khloe filed for divorce and admitted at some point that, “Lamar, he is a very depressed person, which is sad but understandable for everything he’s been through in his life…”(latimes.com)
The man who was king of the court and lead his team to so many wins was outmatched off the court by foes that didn’t play fair. Death, depression, drugs all left Odom fighting a daily battle that few ever realized.
Our prayers are with Odom that he emerges from this latest and greatest battle a winner once again.