The Tortured Life and Against-The-Odds Triumphs of Lamar Odom

The former NBA forward has suffered through many tragedies. The latest has him in a coma. 

All of us sniveling serfs tend to think celebrities have it made simply because they’re famous. But money and recognition are a poor substitute for health and stability. Few people illustrate that better than former NBA player Lamar Odom.

The son of a drug addicted father and a mother who died when he was 12, Odom has been haunted by tragedy his entire life. At 27 his son died of SIDS. Five years later he was riding in a car that killed a 15-year-old kid. Just this summer he lost one friend to a drug-related skin infection weeks before losing another friend to an overdose. And he’s made it through many personal setbacks: He allegedly overcame a crack cocaine addiction and being drafted to the then-awful Clippers, to have a healthy 14-year NBA career and win two championship rings with the Lakers.

But despite his triumphs, the latest tragic turn in Odom’s life came Tuesday when he was found unconscious at the Love Ranch, a legal brothel in Nevada. Odom is now hospitalized and in a coma, TMZ reports, and he’s reportedly having “serious problems with his kidneys and lungs as well.” Reports say “every drug imaginable” was found in the player’s system.

NBA players are showing their support for Odom: Kobe Bryant reportedly left a preseason game early to rush to his bedside. Others tweeted in support:

The brothel’s owner, Dennis Hof, says Odom was in good spirits when he arrived . He spent the weekend enjoying herbal Viagra and cognac while availing himself of the brothel’s services, Hof says. But on Tuesday afternoon a couple of the women who work at the Love Ranch found Odom unresponsive in bed. They called 911 and were instructed to turn him over. “He started throwing up all kinds of stuff. Foaming, and throwing up all kinds of things,” Hof told a local Las Vegas news station

As if all this wasn’t depressing enough, Odom’s trainer told TMZ that the two time NBA champ was preparing for a comeback. He’s dropped 35 pounds and even spoken to the Knicks about returning to the league. At only 35, he’s still younger than vets like Dirk, KG and Kobe. It’s not hard to imagine a 6’10” former sixth man of the year finding a spot on an NBA bench.

One thing is is clear: Odom is a survivor. He survived a tumultuous childhood and teenage years as a basketball prodigy that everyone wanted a piece of. Through it all, he remained one of the most humble, affable guys in the NBA. He may have lived tragedy, but it didn’t define him.

We’re hoping for the best for you, Lamar. Remember, you survived a marriage to a Kardashian — and if you can survive that, you can survive anything.

Photos by Andrew D. Bernstein / Getty Images