It’s sad that in our ever-expanding world, there exists a culture where we give fame and success to Reality TV stars or Youtube sensations. We reward mediocrity and nothingness to the point where we lavish people who have no real talent with our fawning nature and our love.
Lamar Odom was never supposed to be one of those people. Hell, Lamar Odom was never supposed to be anybody of any sort of acclaim if we’re being absolutely honest.
Still, Lamar Odom found himself at the edge of a dangerous precipice the moment he married Khloe Kardashian. He would always be associated to her and her name was always going to have more sizzle and flash than his ever would, 2 NBA championships be damned.
That doesn’t however excuse the fact the the headlines the past few days have read “Khloe Kardashian’s Ex Husband Found Unconscious” or “Kardashian Reality TV Star Found Unconscious In Nevada.” The man has a name, and as has been stated eloquently by people of much higher repute than I could ever hope to achieve, the man was known to people before he ever got married on a Reality TV Show.
As stated before, Odom was never supposed to be a recipient of any of the success he has obtained. Lamar Odom was born the child of a heroin addicted father and was raised by his grandmother after his mom passed away to colon cancer in his teens. Bouncing around from high school to high school, Odom became an AAU phenom to national acclaim and gained a NCAA Division I scholarship that he would lose during his freshman year due to behavioral and drug issues.
While he eventually made it to the NBA, Odom failed multiple drug tests yet still managed to win 2 NBA titles and be a productive member of mulltiple teams within the league. Beloved as a teammate, Odom had incredible grace for a man his size, incredible hand-eye coordination and the ability to play all the frontcout spots effectively. He won the Sixth Man of the Year award in his career and was a solid contributor to have if you were building a team.
In the midst of his career, Odom lost a sixth month old son to SIDS after coming home from an aunt’s funeral, was robbed at gunpoint and was even in the passenger in a car accident where someone was fatally wounded. In spite of all that, he managed to maintain a level of play that contradicted the constant turmoil in his life. Lamar Odom should have never succeeded with all the obstacles against him, much less had a career in the NBA.
He overcame all of that, though. He became a top-tier basketball player, deserving of all the accolades that eventually came his way. He became a FIBA Gold Medalist, an idea so outlandish during his youth that the reality of it was mind-blowing.
In short, despite all of that, the man balled out for years. Hell, he even made the Clippers, the “oh-my-god-I’m-watching-Donald-Sterling’s-horrible-ownership-and Elgin-Baylor’s-terrible-management-decisions-come-to-life CLIPPERS watchable for a brief moment in time. Dude had game. If you were a true hoop fan, you knew his name way before he hooked up with Kim’s less famous sister. Hell, you knew him from way back when he was killing AAU tournaments, and then putting up ridiculous numbers at Rhode Island.
Full disclosure? I still have a #5 Lamar Odom Rhode Island Jersey somewhere in my closet. I have it because the man once called “The Package” because of all the on-court gifts he possessed could dominate a game and make it look effortless. I remember him KILLING kids at Christ The King before he jumped to Redemption Christian Academy and eventually, St. Thomas Aquinas. On an AAU team that had Elton Brand and Ron Artest on it, Lamar Odom was the one running things.
That’s probably what makes this tragic and the media’s coverage of this so bothersome.
Until recently, Lamar Odom’s story was one of perseverance and the survival of a man against incredible odds, overcoming obstacles when society and life gave him absolutely no chance of succeeding.
Somewhere along the line though, things fell apart.
Be it demons from his past, the divorce from Khloe Kardashian or the transition from NBA life to one where he no longer had that safety net, Odom fell into a spiral of despair, depression and addiction. Lamar Odom, as gifted a big man as there was for a short time frame in the oughts, wound up dismissed from the NBA and unable to latch on with any team. Drugs and erratic behavior followed and his life became a shambles to the point where he was found unconscious in a brothel in Nevada a few days ago.
Still, while the situation is eminently sad and unfortunate, what makes it sadder is the fact that the headline doesn’t read “Lamar Odom, former NBA Player, found unconscious in Nevada Brothel,” it read “Kardashian Ex”, or “Kardashian Reality Tv Star”. His life had been relegated for a headline.
The fact of the matter is that the Kardashian name being attached to this relegated a tragic story into a “People” Magazine, or a Cosmo article. It became US Weekly fodder rather than the sad and unfortunate tale it deserved to be. The whole narrative is now only seen through their lens rather than that of a man whose currently fighting for his life in a Vegas hospital. Instead of being a former basketball player, survivor and all-around great person according to the reports of all his former teammates, Odom has become a Kardashian storyline -literally, as cameras were rolling for the E! Network when Kris Jenner and Khloe Kardashian arrived at the Vegas hospital Odom currently finds himself in. That’s a crying shame. That’s just foul.
This story shouldn’t be about the Kardashian’s. It shouldn’t be about them rushing to be by his bedside or any narrative the media is trying to push because their name is attached to this.
It should be about a man who achieved when every statistic indicated that he shouldn’t have had a snowball’s chance in hell of ever become a success. It should be about a man who became a millionaire despite the fact life had placed a myriad of obstacles in his way.
The story should be about Lamar Odom.
Tags: Addiction, Basketball, Depression, Lamar Odom, nba