Former NBA player Lamar Odom reportedly wants to eventually return to his professional basketball career.
Hollywood Life reports that, according to an inside source, the 35-year-old former reality TV star is still determined to return to the NBA despite his recent near-death experience and current health issues.
Lamar Odom Determined To Return To NBA After Recovery | Read: https://t.co/glZ9AMVRA5 via HollywoodLife©
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The insider claims that Lamar knows that he is nowhere near ready to return to the court right away, but feels that he will at least be able to contribute some points to an NBA team’s stats in the future.
“Lamar isn’t close to making a full recovery yet, but he is still determined to make it back to the NBA. Before his brothel bender, he was working out a lot with a trainer with hopes of catching on with a team — preferably the Lakers. He knows his days as an all-star are gone, but he thinks he can still help a team for a few minutes a game.”
Lamar Odom’s professional basketball career began when he was selected by the Los Angeles Clippers with the 4th overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft.
Odom played for the Clippers until the summer of 2003, when the team did not match a deal offered by the Miami Heat for Odom, since he was a restricted free agent at the time.
The former University of Rhode Island student returned to the Los Angeles Clippers in June of 2012, and continued playing for the same team with which he started his NBA career until he was not picked up as a free agent in July of 2013.
However, the majority of Lamar’s NBA career was spent with the Los Angeles Lakers between 2004 and 2011.
According to Hollywood Life, the 6’10” forward viewed the Lakers’ decision to trade him in 2011 as one of his life’s biggest “heartbreaks.”
During a December, 2011, interview with ESPN Radio, Odom was very emotional when discussing the trade — claiming that his former team was “treating him like a number.”
“You’re always going to be stunned and shocked. Sometimes you’re going to ask ‘how did I fall?’… Maybe I rubbed people the wrong way. Maybe it was doing the [reality] show… My family is here. LA’s a part of me — for more than one reason. Everywhere I go, people show me a lot of love. I love the fans and who I was able to play in front of. The people, the connections, going to movie premiers … it’s been a great rise, a great story.”
In February, 2014, Lamar Odom decided to take his talents to the Spanish ACB League thanks to a two-month deal that reportedly came with an option to extend his playing days with them until the end of the season. Unfortunately, according to ESPN, a serious back injury caused that deal to slip away after his doctors concluded that he was not fit for playing out the rest of his contract.
Phil Jackson later decided to give Lamar an opportunity to return to the NBA when he was signed to the New York Knicks in April, 2014. The reality star and husband of Khloe Kardashian was allowed to play the remainder of the season. However, he was waived nearly three months after he was signed.
ESPN reported that Phil Jackson issued an official statement in regards to the decision to waive Lamar.
“Unfortunately, Lamar was unable to uphold the standards to return as an NBA player. We found it necessary to free up the roster spot.”
As he recovers from his reported drug overdose and resulting health complications, it is apparently clear that making a triumphant return to the NBA is not his first priority. However, depending on his progress, it would not be surprising for at least one NBA team to take a chance on Lamar Odom at some point in the future.
[Image Credit: Christian Peterson / Getty Images]