The once promising NBA star nearly succumbed to a drug overdose in a Vegas brothel only to recover and see his already estranged marriage to Khloe Kardashian end for good.
The fall from grace was swift and severe for the power forward. Odom was an integral part of the Lakers 2009 and 2010 championship teams; taking home the 2011 Sixth Man of the Year award before being traded to Dallas.
According to Lamar, that trade was the beginning of the end.
“That trade from the Lakers basically ended my career and purpose,” Odom told The Vertical. “I was never really myself ever again. Being in L.A., the structure, the people I knew, it hurt leaving. I had great memories with the Lakers, with Kobe and Pau. That was a special time in my life.
“I got traded the season after we lost to Dallas in the playoffs, and I had won Sixth Man of the Year for the team. To trade me after winning Sixth Man of the Year … what else do I got to do? Why?
“I think about it all the time, about how much I had left in the tank. I had issues going on. But barring injury, could I play in the NBA today? I could play. I should still be playing.”
The trade was crushing to Odom, who had called Los Angeles home since being drafted by the Clippers back in 1999. Odom reported to the Mavericks having taken a sabbatical from the hardwood for the whole offseason while mourning the death of his cousin; it did not help matters that the NBA was in the middle of a lockout. Odom never truly returned to form from that point on.
The years brought on struggles with drug abuse as well as a highly publicized failed marriage to Khloe Kardashian. Lamar’s drug use continued to worsen culminating in the overdose that nearly took his life.
These days, Lamar is focusing on his son and daughter but is not ruling out a return to the hardwood. While the Lakers approached Odom with a player-development coaching job months ago, the power forward declined to make a commitment. Odom’s preferred return would be as a part of Ice Cube’s BIG3 league.
“I might play in the BIG3 next year,” Odom says. “It would give me something to do. That league is going to last. It’s not going anywhere, and more dudes will get down with it. Getting $100,000 for playing, and three-on-three is nothing to these guys. They can play still. It was fun watching them, seeing the stars come out.
“I think the BIG3 could become international. It could tour. Basketball is an international game, and the four-point shot is entertainment. The reason it’s going to last is Cube – and celebrities come out for it.”
It appears that Odom is light years removed from that dreadful night in the brothel and he seems intent on improving himself physically and emotionally, as well as focusing more on his family and business ventures.
There is a plan in place for Lamar to retire as a Laker and he is developing two new reality TV projects while working on his Rich Soil clothing line and a tell-all book set to be released in 2018. It looks like that time spent around the Kardashian crew was not for naught.