The NBA community was rocked recently when former star Lamar Odom was rushed to a hospital in Nevada after being found unconscious in a legal brothel with drugs permeating multiple body systems. Odom was in a coma for multiple days and has since regained consciousness.
The former number 4 overall pick in the 1999 NBA draft has seemingly reached rock bottom. How did he get there? At one point, Odom was an NBA champion, happily married to reality star Khloe Kardashian, and seemed to be on top of the world. Odom was averaging 13.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 3.7 assists, and he had won two NBA championships as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
A deeper look into his past reveals that Odom comes from a family with a history of drug abuse, including his father being a heroin addict, and he has a long history of struggling with them himself. Odom’s mother died from colon cancer when he was 12 years old.
Odom continued to struggle during his college career. He originally decided to attend the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, but after a report came out questioning his ACT results, he lost his scholarship and left the school. During the same summer, he received a citation for soliciting prostitution. Even further, an NCAA inquiry also found out that Odom received money from a booster at UNLV.
After transferring to the University of Rhode Island and having to sit on the sidelines for a year, his eligibility was again in question when he reportedly disappeared before finals week. Coach Jim Harrick then persuaded his teachers to let make up his work, which helped him stay eligible. In his one season at URI, he averaged 17.6 points and led the team to the conference championship.
Odom’s talent has never questioned, and if it weren’t for his off-the-court issues he would’ve been an easy number one overall pick in the draft. He dropped to the fourth pick when the Los Angeles Clippers took him.
Despite his very successful NBA career, Odom has struggled with drugs for quite a while. In 2013 Odom was arrested for a DUI and refused to submit to various drug tests. Just weeks before his arrests, gossip websites claimed that Odom had been publicly caught abusing drugs.
After marrying Kardashian in Sept. 2009, the pair split in July of 2015, reportedly because of his drug abuse and unwillingness to get help, thus continuing his spiral.
Odom has since woken up from his coma, but his fight to recover will be both long and hard. He has been able to breathe without a ventilator and speak a little while also using hand signals to communicate. Due to kidney failure, he remains on dialysis and doctors are still running tests to determine the extent of possible brain damage or other long-term effects from his overdose. His fight to recover goes beyond his physical health; this is a man who has struggled with drugs his entire life and he needs help to stay sober.
People tend to put athletes on a pedestal, but Odom’s struggle reveals just how vulnerable these stars are. Many hope that his potential rock bottom becomes an eye opener for him, and he receives help to conquer his addictions.