That Lamar Odom is upright, ambulatory and able to do something as frivolous as step into a cold tub to trade jokes with comedian Kevin Hart for an episode of his Laugh Out Loud Network web series “Cold as Balls” is nothing short of miraculous, given where things stood for the gifted but haunted playmaking forward less than three years ago. We found out midway through Odom’s appearance — in a pretty stark departure from the brand of humor the show typically goes for — just how miraculous it was.
During their chat, Hart asked Odom — now 38 years old and attempting to rebuild his life after the October 2015 incident in which he was found unconscious with cocaine in his system at a brothel in Pahrump, Nevada — whether he was “fully over the addiction” troubles that had reportedly plagued him for years prior to his fateful stay at the Bunny Ranch. Odom, who earlier this year announced that he was entering the cannabis business, said that he had, and that having gotten clean made him feel “great, every day [he’s] alive.” Things took an eye-opening turn from there:
Odom: It’s a good day to be alive, considering the alternative.
Hart: 100 percent. Do you now realize how close to death you were?
Odom: Yeah, all my doctors that see me say I’m a walking miracle. I had 12 strokes and six heart attacks when I was in a coma.
Hart: …. God damn.
You might not love the language, but it’s tough to quibble with the response.
After suffering what was believed to be an overdose, Odom stayed on death’s door for several days after he was hauled out of the brothel before regaining consciousness and the ability to breathe on his own. His condition continued to improve, bit by bit, until he was eventually stable enough to be released from the hospital, return home, and begin the long, arduous journey back to something resembling stability.
It hasn’t always been the straightest path, but after resurfacing last summer to talk about his hard-won sobriety, Odom appears to have kept moving forward; now, more than five years after his final NBA game and nearly 4 1/2 years after his last appearance as a pro, he’s reportedly working to wipe away the bitter taste of how his career ended by pursuing a return to the court in China.
After all this time away from the game, and all that’s transpired in the years since we last saw him at his championship- and Sixth Man of the Year-winning peak, it seems like an awful lot to expect Lamar Odom to get back on the court and make much of an impact, no matter where he’s playing. Then again, considering how much he’s already survived to get to this point, maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to bet against it. Miracles can happen, after all. He’s living proof.
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