By: Kendrick E. Johnson
His name is Lamar Odom.
Not Kardashian reality star or a punch line many people talk poorly about for living in a state of self-medication as a means of self-preservation. Despite demons being in his closet – Odom kept things together enough to have a solid 13-year NBA career, win two NBA World Championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and become 2011 NBA Sixth Man of the Year.
Since news broke of Odom fighting for his life after being found unconscious at Dennis Hof’s Love Ranch South in Pahrump, Nevada.
Many narratives how come out about Lamar Odom the man which are completely false. One true narrative comes from Richard Hunter who is the PR liaison for Hof’s Love Ranch who found the unconscious Odom Tuesday before calling 911.
Hunter exclusively told Dallas Blitz Weekly via phone:
“I think what people can learn from this is that you really have to watch out for people’s sadness and people self-medicating and signs of addiction. It was to my understanding that Lamar has dealt with a variety of drug problems before but the idea of him putting unknown things into his body that can harm him is very scary. I had a moment with this guy that I’m going to remember the rest of my life when it comes to being scared and traumatized and he doesn’t even know we are having that moment because he’s unconscious. I hope that he makes it through this and that I’ll be able to tell him that was the scariest thing that I have ever been through and please don’t ever do that again.”
I first met Odom when he was 21-years-old and playing with the Los Angeles Clippers. Although I was only an intern and had never met him, Odom took time to give me a one-on-one which help grow my confidence as a reporter.
Since then I have interviewed Odom various of times and been fortunate enough to even hang with the gentle giant a few times off the court, I can whole heartedly state Lamar Odom is one of the best human beings I’ve come across with while covering professional athletes over the last decade.
No matter if I was an intern trying to make it into the world of sports reporting or making strides climbing up the ladder to work for a national rising website such as Today’s Fastbreak – Odom would always take time to ask me about my immediate family and friends with sincere concern about their well-being accompanied by a big smile on his face.
The man better known as “LO” to those who truly know him in the NBA community, has one of the biggest hearts a person can have. For as many people who know Odom for being married to Khloe Kardashian and being on her family’s reality show, just as many people didn’t know Odom routinely paid bills and supported about 20 family members on the East Coast just because he’s that type of guy.
Odom openly wore his heart on his sleeve despite his life constantly being surrounded by tragedy.
I remember the first time I talked to him to give him my condolences after his 6½-month-old Jayden died from SIDS while sleeping in his crib in New York the previous summer and how Odom kindly said “thanks for the support and to simply always keep your love ones close.” Despite his personal pain he made it a point to talk to me about my family and things which had nothing to do with basketball in our conversation as is way to let me know he cared that I reached out to him.
To honor Jayden’s memory and keep him close – Odom got very real-life looking tattoo of his son’s face put over his chest so that he was always with him prior to the 2007-08 season. Though he did not know how to properly cope with so much tragedy in his life – many people who truly know who Lamar Odom really is have the consensus opinion of him as a great guy who was a better person than the great basketball skills which allowed him to escape the project of Queen, NY.
For proof one just needs to look to social media to see how well respect he is by his former peers and opponents in the NBA.
For all the people who want to hate on “LO” and have a personal opinion on the way he coped with tragedy or the personal lifestyle he made just remember this.
This man has touched a lot of lives across the world in only 35-years of life and even with his flaws his tragic situation is hurting and destroying some of the biggest professional personalities in the world. If you take one thing from this horrible situation always remember to make those around you feel that they mattered while trying to be the best human being you can be.