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From the outside looking in, the National Basketball Association looks quite pleasing to the eye as a kid. I knew for me it was, potentially playing basketball while you’re getting paid for a stretch of 10 to 15 years of your life if you’re fortunate enough. To those kids that do make it along from being the best player on their high school basketball team, then do the same in college, inevitably making their dreams come true. This story would be true for Lamar Odom except for the fact that not all stories are this black and white. Some stories had a few bumps in the road, tragedies, close calls, and so on. So let’s get into his story…

Hailing from Queens, New York, Lamar was born on November 6th, 1979. Primarily raised by his grandmother after the loss of his mother at age 12 and the absence of his father his whole life, Lamar spent the majority of his time playing basketball. Spending his first 3 years of high school at Christ the King Regional High in Queens, New York before playing his last basketball season at Redemption Christian Academy in Troy, New York. As he finished his high school career, Lamar received many national accolades including being named to the high school McDonald’s All American team. Lamar’s life during his high school stage went how any talented athletes’ would go. Stuffing the stat sheet, awards, and popularity. It wasn’t until Lamar landed away from home at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas that problems started to arise.

Many athletes get labeled as just that, athletes and nothing more. Second guessing their ability in the classroom. Speculation started to arise about Odom’s  high ACT scores once he got to UNLV. Questioning its legitimacy, the school later released him. Looking to transfer, Lamar turned back towards home attending the University of Rhode Island. After sitting out a year from transferring, he averaged 18 ppg. as a freshmen at Rhode Island then bolted to the NBA. Long story short, Lamar was drafted 4th overall in the 1999 NBA Draft and played for 5 different teams in his 15 year career.

Lamar Odom played his best basketball during his years with the Los Angeles Lakers. Winning two championships alongside Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. The first coming against Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic in 2009. The second coming against the Boston Celtics in the 2010 NBA Finals. The following year, he won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award for being the most valuable player off the bench. So look, my point is this man had a great career. He has 3 children and is also a human being that’s made mistakes. I wrote this on a basis of showing readers just how great he was of a basketball player. My personal knowledge of him as a person isn’t as sharp. I didn’t pay attention to him as much since I hated the Lakers franchise growing up. But after hearing about Kobe Bryant rushing to the hospital to visit Lamar shortly after his preseason game, I wanted to take a closer look into what was going on this week with him.

Lamar Odom recently took 10 Viagra pills in combination with cocaine  this past Tuesday at a Nevada brothel location, which then caused his body to have multiple seizers. He was later rushed to the hospital. His life, from my understanding is in the balance. I personally hope Lamar recovers fully and can find a way to reconcile his life and return to full health. Get well Lamar Odom, we here at Play For Keeps recognize greatness and uphold it. Until later updated news, it was written!

Credits: LA Times (For the featured photo), Slam Magazine (For the photo), USA Today (For current event).

-Terrence Whaley