As a lifelong Laker fan, I was very sad to hear about Lamar Odom. I am aware of the drug use that is associated with Odom and can honestly say that I was always somewhat pulling for him. For most who aren’t aware of Lamar Odom, he is a talented NBA veteran, 2x NBA Champion, and Sixth Man award recipient. He is a man that is plagued with trauma and losses that start from childhood.
Things seem to have made a bad turn around the time that he was cut from the Lakers in 2011. Odom made a trade demand after reports leaked of an NBA trade being vetoed. Feeling deeply insulted and distraught, he demanded to be traded elsewhere. Odom was aghast because he came off a season winning an NBA sixth man award, arguably coming off of his best season. This was an awful summer for Odom. His cousin passed away and barely a day after he was involved in an accident that took the life of a child. Odom was only a passenger, however, the trauma still penetrated his spirit. In the midst of all of the drama, he was adjusting to a new role on a new nba franchise. Completely out of shape and mentally confounded, his stint with the mavericks was a complete disaster.
Dealing with a failing NBA career, he suffered from depression and turned to drugs to escape.Odom became part of the Kardashian family by marrying Khloe Kardashian. Part of the Kardashian culture is being under constant reality show surveillance. Considering that basketball was a finite resource of income, he considered reality TV as an avenue for post career aspirations. Constantly carrying the burden of camera surveillance, Odom became disgruntled. What originally felt like an auspicious decision became dismal when faced with constant disappointment. Rumors began to swirl of Odom succumbing to the demons of crack use, that ultimately caused the public split with estranged wife Khloe Kardashian.
Odom almost became invisible, disappearing from the spotlight and becoming a recluse. Living in the current era of internet snark, Odom developed a reputation as a crack addict. The stigma was almost akin to Whitney Houston, and Bobby Brown. Heavy drug use is often a pernicious cycle that usually ends in death. Death is something that no rational human being would associate with laughter, however, with the power of snark, there is an insidious nature that is cruel to the object being scrutinized. A person having addiction issues is something that often gets categorized as being “weak-minded” and “stupid”. As if addiction is a vice that can be controlled, people make insensitive comments in public, or through internet forums. In many cases, these are the same people who suffer with more acceptable vices:Drinking too much alcohol, smoking cigarettes, overeating, or infidelity. Unfortunately, Odom is a celebrity for whatever reasons people may know him. Due to the unrealistic nature of fans and internet trolls, celebrities are supposed to be perfect and infallible. He is a man before anything, and we as people need to monitor our downfalls and flaws before slandering anyone.
Odom had a wild weekend that became a national story. It is very unfortunate that Odom is in a hospital bed and fighting for his life. I sincerely hope that his health makes a turn for the better. More importantly, I hope it is a reminder to us as Americans that we need to reach out to people, and just listen to them. We may not be able to help a person on drugs financially,or help them get into a recovery facility, however, we can make that same person feel as if they do exist and you are pulling for them. This isn’t exclusive to drug addicts, ex-convicts or people with troubled history need to be reached out to as well. As D.L. Hughley, famous comedian, said in a interview with TMZ, drug addicts have an inevitable downfall that usually ends in death. Lets hope that Odom pulls through “dire straights” into a longer life of purpose.