Dallas Mavericks basketball forward Lamar Odom admitted to ESPN.com recently that he would have walked away from his NBA career this past summer if his wife, Khloe Kardashian, hadn’t talked him out of it.
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Odom has been coming to grips with some tragedies that left him in a mental slump. A 24-year-old cousin whom he shared an extremely close relationship with was tragically murdered last July, and Odom was a passenger in a chauffeur-driven SUV that struck and killed a 15-year-old boy.
Reportedly, the tragedies stopped Odom from eating, sleeping, working out, and even picking up a ball.
Unfortunately, Odom has been touched by death quite often. His second son, Jayden, was found dead in his crib five years ago at only 6 months old; the child succumbed to sudden infant death syndrome. Odom’s mom died when he was only 12 years old, and the grandmother who stepped into his life to rear him after his mom’s passing also died in 2004.
Of his recent losses the 13-year NBA veteran says:
My wife talked me out of it [quitting]. ‘Cause I was asking myself was I mentally prepared to play? If I didn’t play well, was I mentally prepared to help the team?
The baller-turned-reality-TV celeb, who with his wife co-stars on the famed “Khloe & Lamar” series, also suffered yet another death of sorts. After playing with the Lakers for seven years and helping the team to win two championships, Odom got traded to the Mavericks last December in a move that took him for a loop. He’s been quoted as saying that the trade “cut him deeply.”
Now the man who was once the reigning NBA “Sixth Man of the Year” is now being criticized for lacking heart and looking lost as he struggles on his new team. Even former player-turned-analyst Charles Barkley recently blasted Odom for seemingly not coming to grips with his trade and for going through the motions in a trance-like state on the courts.
Still, Khloe told ESPN.com:
I know he’ll be fine, it just takes a minute, but it’s not so much of him being traded — yeah, he loved being with the Lakers and he was there for seven years and he said, it’s like going to a new school; it’s like getting to know your classmates again and a new teacher, that’s kind of the analogy. So it will take time, but I don’t think too long. Lamar has suffered a lot of losses, a lot of tragedy, and I think this summer having two very hard tragedies so fast, I think that would take a toll on anyone, but I don’t think a lot of people know about that.
Meanwhile, Odom’s Maverick teammates are reportedly trying to be sympathetic and patient. When fellow teammate Shawn Marion spoke to ESPN.com he said:
I’ve known him for a long time and there’s definitely a lot of emotions tied into when he left L.A. It’s a business, but there are emotions involved in there. We are people, don’t get it twisted. I know it’s a job and you’ve got to be ready for your job. At the same time we do have feelings and we do have emotions, so don’t discredit that.