It seemed that Lamar Odom was destined for a life of sadness and failure, having started out in some of the worst circumstances possible with trials at every turn. However, he turned that around and then some, and is now a two-time NBA champion. Lamar Odom is best known for playing 7 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, his positive and upbeat personality, and his incredible teamwork on the court. He is also known for his brief marriage to Khloe Kardashian.
Lamar Odom’s Early Life
Lamar Odom was born on November 6th, 1979 in Queens, New York to parents Joe Odom and Cathy Mercer. His early life was very difficult. As a child, he grew up in a rough area with an often-absent addict father. Odom did however have a strong bond with his mother, who did her best to keep her son off the streets and away from harm. She introduced him to basketball at the age of 7 to give him a constructive outlet for his struggles.
When Odom was 12, his mother Cathy suddenly died of colon cancer. Devastated by the loss of his mother, Odom committed himself to basketball as a way to cope. On the very day of her funeral, he shot hoops long into the night, doing his best to cope with the tragedy that had befallen him.
Odom’s grandmother, Mildred Mercer took him in after his mother’s death. His grandmother also shared his mother’s vision of keeping him off the streets, and pushed him to excel academically as well as in basketball. As the years rolled by, basketball became an increasingly larger part of his life. Odom’s basketball idol was Magic Johnson.
Odom played on the varsity team for Christ the King Regional High School in Middle Village, Queens, until the end of his junior year. He then moved to Troy, New York to attend Redemption Christian Academy, but transferred shortly after to St. Thomas Aquinas High School located in New Britain, Connecticut to train under Rhode Island Rams coach Jerry DeGregorio. DeGregorio acted as a father figure to Odom, supporting him academically and personally. With his support, Odom gained nationwide recognition – and with that attention from professional teams.
Lamar Odom’s Career
Odom began his professional career with the Los Angeles Clippers after his freshman year at Rhode Island in 1999. The Clippers had recently emerged from a disastrous season and sought Odom to rebuild their reputation. In his debut game, Odom scored 30 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 assists. Although the Clippers lost to the Sonics 92 to 104, Odom’s performance left a permanent impression on the crowd of 18,000 that attended his first professional game.
Odom departed from the clippers following several violations of the NBA’s drug policy in 2003. In his last season, he only played 49 games, and was restricted to playing as a free agent the next summer. Recognizing the young star’s talent, Miami Heat stepped in and gave him an offer the Clippers couldn’t counter.
While Miami Heat was a newer team at the time and only had 25 wins under its belt, the team had freshly drafted several talented players, including Elton Brand, Dwayne Wade, and Caron Butler. The Heat didn’t start their first season too hot, losing their first 7 games. However, with the help of Odom and other talented players on the the team got back on its feet. Odom’s season with the Heat far outshined his last season with the Clippers, and at the time was the best of his career.
After his season with Miami Heat, Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, and Brian Grant were traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Shaquille O’Neal.
Odom is best known for his career with the Lakers, whom he played with from 2004 to 2011. He experienced great success right off the bat with the team. During his seven seasons with the Lakers, Odom played alongside legend Kobe Bryant. He also largely contributed to the Laker’s two NBA championship victories in 2009 and 2010.
In 2011, Odom was traded to the Dallas Mavericks, much to his chagrin. He remained on the team for only 6 months, before joining the Clippers again in June 2012. He was out of shape for half of the season, and became a free agent in 2013. In 2014, he briefly played in Euroleague basketball with Spanish team Laboral Kuxta Bastonia, yet returned to the USA after two months due to a back injury. After he had healed from his injury, he joined the New York Knicks in April 2014, but was waived by them later in July.
Lamar Odom’s Personal Life
Lamar Odom has had three children, Destiny, Lamar Jr., and Jayden with girlfriend Liza Morales. Jayden was tragically lost to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) on June 29th, 2006. This tragic event did bring him closer to his real father, as well as to his former coach Jerry DeGregorio, whom he affectionately referred to as his “white dad”. DeGregorio is also the godfather to Odom’s children.
Odom married reality star Khloe Kardashian in September of 2009, after dating for only one month. The pair met at a party for one of Odom’s teammates, and their wedding was featured on Keeping Up With The Kardashians. The show brought Odom fame from those who weren’t aware of his basketball legacy. Odom and Khloe Kardashian also starred in their own reality show for two seasons, yet Odom opted out after only 2 seasons due to exhaustion.
In August 2013, Odom was arrested for driving under the influence. He refused chemical drug testing after the arrest, leading many to suspect he was using drugs. Odom later copped a plea to not accept the drug charges under the precept that he would be under probation for three years and be enrolled in a three-month treatment plan for alcohol abuse.
Odom and Khloe Kardashian both signed divorce papers in July 2015, after Khloe had filed in December 2014. The divorce was called off after Odom was hospitalized after an overdose with multiple strokes and kidney failure on October 13, 2015.
What is Lamar Odom Doing Now in 2018
Odom is well on his way to a full recovery from his overdose. He left the hospital in January 2016. His aunt noted that he was making “remarkable strides” in his recovery. Khloe Kardashian continues to support him through his recovery. The pair attended the Super Bowl and spent Valentine’s Day together.
Odom is also friends with rapper and fashion designer Kanye West, stating his love for his music as well as attending one of his fashion shows in February 2016.
Lamar Odom owns his own music and film production company called Rich Soil Entertainment. He also has his own clothing line with the company.