Lamar Odom recently shared his near-death experience and how it has impacted him. The former NBA player said that he is considering a comeback to the sport, but will need to share his story in order for it to happen.
Lamar Odom was recently released from the hospital after nearly dying. He shared his story with a former Lakers teammate and discussed how he might be able to return to basketball.
Lamar Odom is a basketball player from the Los Angeles Lakers, a former NBA player and reality TV personality, overdosed and fell into a coma nearly six years ago, during which he had a dozen strokes and numerous heart attacks. He amazingly survived, and after a few months in the hospital, the two-time NBA champion basically began a new life, one in which he wants to assist people rather than harm them, as he has done in the past.
While Odom claims he didn’t take narcotics the night of his near-fatal accident, he has admitted to previous substance usage problems. When his six-month-old baby died of SIDS in 2006, he claims cocaine became his “crutch,” and things spiraled out of hand. His addiction harmed his other two children, harmed his marriage to Khloé Kardashian, hampered (and perhaps curtailed) his NBA career, and, most importantly, almost killed him.
Odom has spoken about his addiction and subsequent rehabilitation on numerous platforms in the years after his near-death incident in Las Vegas, has published an autobiography, and was the subject of a documentary earlier this year. He’s also teamed up with American Addiction Centers, particularly with Joy Sutton, who works as the organization’s head of corporate communications and presents Addiction Talk, a new talk program on which Odom just participated.
During our conversation with the former NBA Sixth Man of the Year, Odom stressed the need of continuing to tell his story, which was just one of the subjects we addressed. He not only spoke about his near-death experience and the terror he felt when he awoke, but he also revealed something about his basketball future.
Lamar Odom talks about his lowest moment and why he keeps sharing his story.
Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images/Lamar Odom
I asked Odom why he continues to share his experience on these different venues early in the conversation, and he responded as follows:
“The question would be, ‘Why not?’ if sharing my experience would benefit others. That is a more serious question. I receive a lot of compliments on my current route, which is more satisfying than people telling me how wonderful of a basketball player I am. So why not tell my experience if it may help save or transform someone’s life?”
We went into that notorious night in 2015, which Odom refers to as his “low point,” as our conversation continued.
“That night that I went into a coma, I didn’t take any drugs. So when I awoke from my coma, I was even more perplexed. Hurt. Saddened. A little irritated. My faith, on the other hand, never wavered. I couldn’t move or speak when I awoke from my coma. And I believe my religion was the only thing that helped me get through it. I didn’t inquire further. I didn’t express any dissatisfaction. And it would have been very simple for me to adopt the ‘f— it’ and ‘f— everyone’ attitude, but it did not enter my thoughts or my space. I attempted to be the same, to remain peaceful, and to maintain my trust in God.”
Lamar Odom addresses his basketball future and claims he would still be playing in the NBA today if it weren’t for his addiction.
I asked Odom whether he felt his drug usage had curtailed his NBA career as our discussion progressed. Not only did he claim it worked, but he also said that at 41 years old, he thinks he would still be in the league.
“I honestly believe I’d still be playing right now. If it weren’t for the drugs, yes. Because I’ve never had issues with my lower extremities, which may cut a player’s career short. I can still run and leap, albeit not as quickly or as high as I did when I was 19, but I can still do it.”
I then asked Odom whether he had any intentions to play elsewhere, before bringing up his brief appearance in Ice Cube’s BIG3, which he addressed first before dropping an intriguing tidbit about a potential possibility with an ex-teammate from his days with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I wasn’t in great condition [for the BIG3].” My former teammate is still around. Where he comes from, he and his brother own a team. I’m referring to Pau Gasol. I just completed a documentary for him and asked if he would give me a chance to play if I could get in shape. So that’s something he should consider or something we can talk about when I do get in shape. However, I still have a strong desire to play the game. I try to catch every NBA game that I can. I can’t seem to get it out of my system, whether it’s via teaching or playing — just being around it.”
How boxing has aided his emotional and physical rehabilitation
I asked Odom how boxing had aided his overall rehabilitation and mental health as our interview drew to a conclusion. For those who aren’t aware, the former All-American just entered the celebrity boxing ranks, where he comfortably defeated musician Aaron Carter in June.
“I believe boxing helps because it puts your reflexes to the test. It keeps you sharp, and it’s a new method of working out for me since I don’t like to run too much, despite my plans to do the New York City marathon.”
I told him how courageous it was for anybody, and we both laughed about it. Odom is slated to fight Riddick Bowe, the former world heavyweight champion, in a brief exhibition battle this autumn, but he claims it has been moved back from its initial October 2 date.
We wrapped things off with a brief discussion on COVID-19, and he encouraged everyone to consider getting vaccinated. I asked him if he had any last thoughts, and he responded as follows:
“I know there’s a reason I’m here. So maybe it’s to assist others in changing since I couldn’t change myself.”
So I’m not even going to attempt to compete with it. I’d want to express my gratitude to Lamar Odom for taking the time to talk with Sportscasting, as well as his staff for putting things together. And, of course, thanks to Joy Sutton, who joined us on the call and gave us some excellent advice.
How to seek help: Call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s hotline at 1-800-662-4357 in the United States. Addiction treatment is available at American Addiction Centers. You may reach them by dialing 866-244-1070.
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