Lamar Odom made headlines for something other than the Kardashians yesterday. The former NBA star signed a contract with Laboral Kutxa of the Spanish league. At the age of 34, a basketball comeback does not seem likely, although he may be a factor in improving the struggling Spanish team.
Lamar Odom has had a troublesome career, a bright shining star that never seemed to fully materialize. An outstanding talent from Queens, Odom barely knew his heroin-addicted father and lost his mother to colon cancer at the age of 12. Raised by his late grandmother Mildred, Odom used basketball to find his way to the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. Before he even played one game he was involved in a scandal that led to NCAA sanctions and the basketball player switching to the University of Rhode Island.
After sitting out one season, Lamar Odom returned to the court in 1998. His stellar well-rounded game led the Rams to an A-10 conference title and a birth in the NCAA tournament. His stock was on the rise and NBA scouts were thrilled about the prospect of picking up a 6-foot-ten forward who handled the ball like a point guard. He was drafted number four overall and landed on the All-Rookie first team.
As a result of drugs, off court issues, and a what seemed to be a defeated mental make-up, Lamar Odom never lived up to the hype. That is until he found Lakers head coach Phil Jackson. Jackson took the wounded and almost washed-up forward and turned him into an integral part of the Lakers for seven seasons. By the time his run with the Lakers was over, Odom was recognized with the Sixth-Man Award and a two time NBA champion.
But the success wouldn’t last. During his final season with the Lakers, he began shooting a reality show with then wife Khloe Kardashian called Khloe and Lamar. Their marriage lasted four years and his alleged drug use was the cause of the failure. Though he bounced from the Mavericks to the Clippers during this time, Odom never served an important role again.
The news of his comeback with Laboral Kutxa may be too little too late. At the age of 34, Lamar Odom has seen a world of pain and hurt. But who knows? Maybe a stint overseas will spark something in the former Sixth Man Award winner and give him a chance to play for a contending team. But the off-court issues and mental instability of Lamar Odom leave a lot of doubt about whether he can truly make a comeback.