Looking back on Lamar Odom and his time with the Los Angeles Lakers

Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images /

Lamar Odom was many things. A top-rated high school phenom, a kid from Queens NY, a six-foot-nine athlete that could handle the ball like a point guard, a two-time champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, the Sixth Man of the Year, and a flawed human being as we all are.

Lamar Odom has had a very interesting past, to say the least. We have seen his journey go from the top of the mountain, down into the valley and then to a place of reflection and rejuvenation.

I remember when Lamar Odom was in high school. You couldn’t go anywhere without hearing his name. This was after the Felipe Lopez madness that had struck the city of New York. Lamar was a phenom and he was just a young man.

Crowds would fill gymnasiums to watch him play. He went to Christ the King High school in Queens where he teamed with players such as Craig “Speedy” Claxton and Eric Barkley.

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Lamar Odom also teamed with Ron Artest (Later known as Metta World Peace) and Elton Brand in the AAU league and even played with Kobe Bryant in the Adidas ABCD Camp. There is no doubt that he was surrounded by talent on all sides and was on his way to possibly being one of the most memorable players of his time, which was an amazing thing for a kid from Queens who had unfortunately lost his mother to colon cancer at the age of 12 and whose father was a heroin addict.

Odom went on to play at Rhode Island University where he only played for one year. Prior to this, he had committed to playing for the Runnin’ Rebels at the University of Nevada Las Vegas but that didn’t end up happening as he was found guilty of cheating on the SATs as well as for supposedly accepting $5,600 from one of the school’s boosters which also resulted in head coach Bill Bayno being placed on probation for four years. For one season, Odom averaged 17.6 points per game and led the Rams to the conference championship.

There was no doubt that Lamar Odom was ready for the NBA as he was playing beyond his years as he was able to shoot, handle the ball, and take over games. In the 1999 NBA Draft, Odom came out as the overall number 4 pick and was selected by the Los Angeles Clippers.

In his first season with the Clippers, Odom went on to average 16.6 points per game, 7.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists. He was of course the lone star of a Clippers team that had only won 15 games that season.

In 2003 he signed with the Miami Heat who had young talent in Dwyane Wade, Caron Butler, and veteran and ex-Laker Eddie Jones. In his one season with the Heat, Odom averaged 17.1 points per game, 9.7 rebounds, and 4. assists. The Heat would finish 42-40 and go on to get knocked out in the second round of the NBA playoffs by the Indiana Pacers.

Lamar was then traded to the Los Angeles Lakers along with Brian Grant and Caron Butler for Shaquille O’ Neal. There were many, many Lakers fans that were quite unhappy with this move as many could not understand why this had happened. The Lakers would finish 34-48 in Odom’s first season with the team. Of course, things would change as head coach Phil Jackson was brought in the next season.

Odom would go on to be a very important part of a Laker’s team that would go on to make three consecutive NBA Finals and win two out of those three giving him two championship rings. He would also make a change in his professional career before the start of the 2008-2009 season as he was sent to the bench and would now serve as the Lakers’ sixth man.

Lamar Odom was such an integral piece of the Los Angeles Lakers puzzle.

Odom would go on to win the NBA’s Sixth Man of the year ward in 2010-2011.

Playing in Los Angeles brought him close to the world of entertainment of course and it wasn’t long before he was part of a reality television show that would star his future wife Khloe Kardashian. It wouldn’t be long until he would have a show of his own called ‘Khloe and Lamar’.

Unfortunately, it was also during this time that Odom got involved with drugs and would start to struggle unfortunately and his basketball career, as well as his life, would start to decline.

He would end up playing one season with the Dallas Mavericks, a season which saw him be very out of shape. Yet he played another season with the Los Angeles Clippers. From that point on, he played in just two games for the Spanish League and would eventually be signed by the New York Knicks in 2014 but never played.

In 2018-2019, Lamar played with the Mighty Sports, a Philippine team that would go on to play in the Dubai International Basketball Tournament. Odom would also end up playing in Ice Cube’s Big3.

Lamar Odom then went through one of the most unfortunate experiences of his life in 2015. He was hospitalized after being discovered unconscious at the Love Ranch, a legal brothel in Crystal Nevada. He suffered kidney failure as well as 6 attacks and 12 strokes.

Odom, to this day, still says that he did not take drugs that night and believes he was drugged by someone at the ranch. It would be a long and hard road for him to recover as doctors thought he would never make it. Thank God he did.

Today, Odom is well and very active as he recently won his first celebrity boxing match where he defeated Aaron Carter. Lamar speaks openly about his struggles and is an advocate for helping people with similar problems.

Next. 10 most disappointing seasons in Lakers history. dark

You can hear his amazing story on two different podcasts. One of which is the VladTV podcast and ALL THE SMOKE podcast hosted by Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson. Both episodes are amazing. Please give them a listen.