People think money and fame solve all problems. For Lamar Odom, all they did was create them.For years, the former Lakers star struggled with drug abuse. His downfall culminated in a near-fatal overdose, leaving Odom in a coma for months. But even after his miraculous recovery, Lamar wasn’t fully over the addiction side. It just took a different form.
I had an old debt that got a little too steep for where I was at at that time. It was getting tight. And, if you’re in a bad situation, especially about some money, he ain’t the one that you’re gonna want to call.Lamar Odom, All The Smoke
On and off the court, Kobe held himself to the highest standard. He did the same with the people around him. Lamar, at that stage of his life, was nowhere near that standard. Having earned over $100 million throughout his NBA career, dealing with financial issues was a mirror of irresponsibility that led to Odom being in such a situation in the first place. Naturally, he was hesitant to reach out to Mamba for help. But he still did it.
I gathered up the strength, put my pride to the side, and gave him a call. After he went in, he was just like, ‘Have your people call my people, and then we’ll figure it out.’ And that was one before the last time I spoke to him.Lamar Odom, All The Smoke
Unfortunately, Kobe never got the chance to figure it out. Just weeks later, he was gone. Lamar, who looked at Bryant as an older brother, spoke to him one more time before the tragedy.
The last time I spoke to him, I don’t know exactly what it was about, but I think it was just about being great.Lamar Odom, All The Smoke
That’s what Odom is trying to be ever since. For him, the word greatness is no longer associated with the game of basketball. It’s solely about the game of life, meeting the same standard Kobe held him to.
For years, he hasn’t been able to do it. But Lamar seems on the right track. There’s no Bryant to bail him out this time. But his imprint on the 41-year-old Odom lives on.