Lamar Odom Has Witnessed A Lot Of Death In His Life
Lamar Odom is an easy target.
He's had periods in his career in which he's underachieved, and he's also married to a Kardashian. The popular perception out there is that his frequent appearances on reality TV with his wife sometimes turn into public displays of emasculation. You've heard him called "Lamar Kardashian," right?
So there's that image of Odom that we have in our heads, of the underachieving reality show prop that probably doesn't have a whole lot on his plate besides not being as good as he could be and attending parties for his sister-in-law's perfume line.
But there's another side to his story that is considerably darker, and less open to snark.
On July 13th, one day after attending the funeral of his 24-year-old cousin in New York, Lamar Odom was the passenger in an SUV in Queens that collided with a motorcycle. The motorcycle spun out of control and hit a 15-year-old pedestrian, who died from head injuries the following day.
After the accident, the Lakers forward said he didn't eat for "eight or nine days," as his mind was invaded by thoughts of the death he's witnessed. As it were, Lamar Odom has witnessed a lot of death.
Odom's mother died of colon cancer when he was 12. He was raised by his grandmother, who passed away in 2004. Then, in 2006, his six-month-old son Jayden died of sudden infant death syndrome in his crib.
"Death always seems to be around me. I've been burying people for a long time. When I had to bury my child, I probably didn't start grieving until a year and a half later. I think the effects of seeing [my cousin] die and then watching this kid die, it beat me down. I consider myself a little weak. I thought I was breaking down mentally. I'm doing a lot of reflecting."
He was in New York last month for a Nike commercial shoot, but just before leaving was told of his cousin's murder. As the new head of the family, Odom was responsible for making the funeral arrangements and pulling everyone together, a role he said normally went to his "grandmother or someone that was much older." For someone who's still relatively young, it's a lot to deal with, and a lot that he can't unsee.
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