Lamar Odom puts dark past behind, focuses on playing basketball again
MANILA, Philippines—Lamar Odom has had a life full of successes and pitfalls and he’s not shy to admit his mistakes.
From being a two-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, Odom left the league in 2013 before joining Spanish club Laboral Kutxa Baskonia in the Liga ACB.
He was then, hospitalized on October 13, 2015 after suffering kidney failure and several strokes for taking cocaine several days before he was discovered unconscious at a motel in Nevada.
Odom has since recovered from his dark episode and he’s back playing the sport he loves.
More than three years since the harrowing experience, Odom joined Philippine club Mighty Sports and is set to play in the Dubai International Basketball Championship a stint the 6-foot-9 forward is thankful for.
“It’s very satisfying because I can go out there and compete, and play the game I love,” said Odom during his media availability Friday at Solaire Resort and Casino. “This is very important to me.”
“My goal is to compete, have fun, and be happy.”
Odom, 39, isn’t officially retired from the NBA and he knows his journey is vastly different from the path others in the league experienced.
The versatile forward started his NBA career with the Los Angeles Clippers after getting drafted out of University of Rhode Island as the fourth overall pick in the 1999 Draft.
His first years in the league didn’t receive much success as the Clippers failed to get a winning record from 1999 to 2003.
Odom then, signed with the Miami Heat where he supported a young Dwyane Wade for just one season before he went back to LA but this time with the Lakers.
It was with the Lakers that Odom found success having won the 2009 and 2010 titles as one of the sidekicks of Kobe Bryant.
Odom’s next stints in Dallas and back with the Clippers weren’t that memorable and in 2013 he became a free agent as no team was willing to sign him.
“My journey in life has been totally different,” said Odom. “I don’t think anybody in the NBA has ever been through what I’ve been through and I’m here to fight.”
Already moved on from his past, Odom said that if he ever retires he wants to do it in the terms he set for himself.
“I want to end it on my terms an be able to sleep properly at night.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.