Lamar Odom's tragic drug-fueled fall from grace: Dumped by Khloe, ditched by the NBA, wracked by family tragedy and caught in a never-ending downward spiral

Lamar Odom
  • Troubled NBA star watched his mother die from cancer when she was 12
  • His grandmother and son Jayden then passed away during his career 
  • Was banned from the NBA in 2001 for violating league-s anti-drug policy 
  • In June, his friend Jamie Sangouthai died after suffering drug problems  

 

Lamar Odom has a history of drug problems and was forced to watch his mother, son, grandmother and best friend pass away during his never-ending tailspin.

The troubled NBA star grew up with an addict father, was suspended from the league for using cannabis and was recently devastated by the death of his best friend who had issues with heroin.

The 35 year old, who once said 'death always seems to be around me', was dropped from the LA Clippers in 2013 as his performances faltered amidst claims he was using drugs. 

His substance-abuse problems were one of the reasons Khloe Kardashian allegedly filed for divorce in December 2013.

He was taken to hospital fighting for his life on Tuesday night after being found unconscious in a brothel. 

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Lamar Odom was drafted by the LA Clippers and was destined to be a promising player. But in 2001 he was banned from the NBA for violating their anti-drug policy. He admitted to using cannabis 

Lamar Odom was drafted by the LA Clippers and was destined to be a promising player. But in 2001 he was banned from the NBA for violating their anti-drug policy. He admitted to using cannabis 

In June, Odom's best friend Jamie Sangouthai died from a flesh-eating bacteria in his arm caused by an infection from dirty needles. He was believed to have been struggling with drug issues

In June, Odom's best friend Jamie Sangouthai died from a flesh-eating bacteria in his arm caused by an infection from dirty needles. He was believed to have been struggling with drug issues

He was also a passenger in a SUV involved in a car crash that killed a 12-year-old boy and attended his 24-year-old cousin, after her had been 'murdered.' 

In June, Odom's best friend Jamie Sangouthai died from a flesh-eating bacteria in his arm caused by an infection from dirty needles. He was believed to have been struggling with drug issues.

Death always seems to be around me. I've been burying people for a long time 
Lamar Odom speaking to the LA Times 

But Odom's turmoil began when his mother, Cathy Mercer, died of colon cancer when he was 12. 

His didn't have much of a relationship with his father Joe, who was a heroin addict.  

He said on an episode of 'Keeping Up with the Kardashians: 'When my mother died, I went on the court and played basketball all day, I didn't even go in the house to eat. Just played basketball.'

After Mercer's death, Odom was raised by his grandmother, Mildred Mercer, who died in 2004.

Then, his son Jayden, died of sudden infant death syndrome in his crib in 2006. He was just seven months old.

Odom and his then-girlfriend, Liza Morales, also were also raising daughter Destiny, eight and son L.J, five. 

In 2011, he went through a summer of anguish. In June he went to a funeral of a 24-year-old cousin who he believes was murdered in New York.

 

Just three days later, he was a passenger in an SUV in Queens that collided with a motorcycle.

The motorcycle went out of control and collided with 15-year-old pedestrian, Awsaf Alvi Islam, who died because of his head injuries. 

He told the LA Times: '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.' 

Odom is pictured alongside his son Lamar Jr, his daughter Destiny and then wife Khloe at the Teen Choice Awards in 2011 

Odom is pictured alongside his son Lamar Jr, his daughter Destiny and then wife Khloe at the Teen Choice Awards in 2011 

Khloe Kardashian, step-daughter Destiny Odom and Lamar Odom Jr run errands in Los Angeles in 2012 

Khloe Kardashian, step-daughter Destiny Odom and Lamar Odom Jr run errands in Los Angeles in 2012 

In an interview with the LA Times, he said: ''Death always seems to be around me. I've been burying people for a long time.' He has had to watch his baby son, mother, grandmother and best friend pass away 

In an interview with the LA Times, he said: ''Death always seems to be around me. I've been burying people for a long time.' He has had to watch his baby son, mother, grandmother and best friend pass away 

That same year, during Kardahsian and Odom's reality series, his father Joe reached out to him at a book signing. 

They tried to form a closer bond, but Joe ended up just asking him for money.  

Odom and Kardashian finalized their divorce in July, the same month Khloe had first been spotted out and about with her new boyfriend, Houston Rockets player, James Harden. 

He had reportedly failed to turn up to counselling sessions and kept relapsing, despite trying to shy away from drugs.  

Eventually Kardashian was forced to change her phone number because he wouldn't stop calling. 

In August, Odom reportedly ambushed his ex-wife outside of a SoulCycle in Los Angeles.

According to TMZ, he verbally abused her as she made her way to the gym.

A bystander allegedly asked Kardashian if they wanted them to call the police. Odom reportedly then shouted back: 'You're not going to call the cops on Lamar Odom.' 

In the same month he denied the ambush and told a magazine that any man making a move on her was 'wasting his time'. 

In a 'rambling' interview with InTouch Magazine, the former professional basketball player appears to admit cheating on the 31-year-old, but reveals he will 'never be completely happy' without the E! star. 

In 1999, Odom was selected fourth overall in the NBA draft by the Los Angeles Clippers and was expected to become a star.

In 2001, just one day after his 22nd birthday, Odom admitted that he'd used marijuana.

In August, Odom reportedly ambushed his ex-wife outside of a SoulCycle in Los Angeles. This picture allegedly shows the interaction between the pair 

In August, Odom reportedly ambushed his ex-wife outside of a SoulCycle in Los Angeles. This picture allegedly shows the interaction between the pair 

After the Clippers dropped him in 2013, he tried to revive his career with Spanish club Laboral Kutxa (pictured). He then had a brief stint with the New York Knicks in 2014

After the Clippers dropped him in 2013, he tried to revive his career with Spanish club Laboral Kutxa (pictured). He then had a brief stint with the New York Knicks in 2014

He had already been suspended from the league for violating the anti-drug policy twice. 

'I made the mistake once, now it's twice,' he told The Associated Press at the time. 'I feel like I can get through it, I know I can get through it, I'm strong enough. Nothing I can say is going to make people believe me, I've just got to do it.'

However Odom insisted he did not have a drug problem.

'I chose to experiment with marijuana, that's why I'm here right now,' he said. 'I'll be receiving counseling. That's not rehab.'

In 2009, just four weeks after Odom met Kardashian, the two were married in a lavish, black-tie wedding in Beverly Hills. The two got their own series on E in 2011: Khloé & Lamar. 

However his troubles continued when, on August 30, 2013, Odom was arrested on charges of driving under the influence.

He pleaded no contest to the charge and accepted a sentence of three years' probation and three months of alcohol abuse treatment.

During his career he had stints with the Clippers, the Miami Heat, the LA Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks. 

He won the NBA Championship twice, took the gold medal in the FIBA World Championships with the United States in 2010 and was named in the NBA All-Rookie team in 2000.  

After the Clippers dropped him in 2013, he tried to revive his career with Spanish club Laboral Kutxa. He then had a brief stint with the New York Knicks in 2014.

He hasn't played professional basketball since.  

Odom stands around during the McDonald's All-American East v West game at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs in 1997He then went on to play for the University of Rhode Island in 1998

Odom stands around during the McDonald's All-American East v West game at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs in 1997 (left). He then went on to play for the University of Rhode Island in 1998 (right)

He sits and waits around during an LA Clippers media day after being drafted by the team in 2001 

He sits and waits around during an LA Clippers media day after being drafted by the team in 2001 

He poses for a rookie portrait in Landsdown, Virginia, in 2000Odom looks to pass the ball during a game against the Toronto Raptors in 2001

He poses for a rookie portrait in Landsdown, Virginia, in 2000 (left). Odom looks to pass the ball in a game against the Toronto Raptors in 2001

Odom and Kardashian sit courtside as they attend the 2011 BBVA All-Star Celebrity basketball game

Odom and Kardashian sit courtside as they attend the 2011 BBVA All-Star Celebrity basketball game

AS LAMAR ODOM FIGHTS FOR HIS LIFE, THE HIGHS AND HEARTBREAKING LOWS OF KHLOE'S TROUBLED RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FORMER NBA STAR SHE COULDN'T GIVE UP

They met and married within a month, swept away by the romance of their mutual attraction.

And while their four-year-marriage eventually cracked under the pressure of fame, Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom never stopped loving one another.

So when news broke on TMZ late Tuesday that Lamar was fighting for life in a Las Vegas hospital, his ex-wife didn't hesitate.

Now, as the 31-year-old rushes to be at his side, here's a look back at the couple, who once seemed to have it all.

Wedded bliss: Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom married on September 27, 2009 at Irving Azoff's Beverly Hills mansion after having dated for only a month

Wedded bliss: Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom married on September 27, 2009 at Irving Azoff's Beverly Hills mansion after having dated for only a month

Lost love: Lamar and Khloe pose happily back in 2012; they wed just a month after meeting

Lost love: Lamar and Khloe pose happily back in 2012; they wed just 

Khloe and Lamar first met in August 2009 at a party for his Lakers teammate Metta World Peace.

The couple started going on sushi dates, and even hit the red carpet for Whiteout on September 9.

 

Soon after they announced their engagement, which they shared on her reality show Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

The athlete wanted to tie the knot before basketball season began so they wed - only one month after meeting - in a lavish September 27 ceremony at music mogul Irving Azoff's Beverly Hills house.

Till death do us part: The E! star was only 25 when she tied the knot with this NBA great

Till death do us part: The E! star was only 25 when she tied the knot with this NBA great

The nuptials were filmed for her E! show and also featured on the cover of a weekly magazine with the headline, 'My dream wedding.'

The beauty was so committed to her NBA star husband she dropped her middle name and took on his last name to become Khloe Kardashian Odom.

The two even got his-and-her tattoos on their hands - hers was LO for Lamar Odom and his was KO for Khloe Odom.

Exploiting their love?: They went naked for their Unbreakable fragrance in February 2011

Exploiting their love?: They went naked for their Unbreakable fragrance in February 2011

When they bought a $4m mansion in Tarzana, California, he let the beauty move her brother Rob in.

She also started spending time with his children - Destiny, 14, and Lamar Jr, 11 - from a former relationship.

She became a staple at his Lakers games, often bringing mom Kris Jenner and friend Malika Haqq along.

Then they started working together. In February 2011 they launched their unisex fragrance Unbreakable (later they came out with Unbreakable Joy and Unbreakable Bond), and on April 10, 2011 the duo's Keeping Up With the Kardashians reality spinoff, Khloe & Lamar, debuted on E!

Facing reality: The TV personality got her Sixth Man player husband to co-star with her in 2011's Khloe & Lamar

Facing reality: The TV personality got her Sixth Man player husband to co-star with her in 2011's Khloe & Lamar

Their first season covered early struggles: she had trouble conceiving a baby and he had drama with his father Joe.

Years later, in the June 2013 issue of Redbook magazine, Khloe shared her issues with having a baby: 'Hormone shots have to be done by a doctor - you can do them yourself, but I couldn't. And then after your cycle, you have to go to the doctor for ultrasounds and more testing... It's a commitment and I don't mind doing it, but the timing was just off.'

The Sixth Man player also complained that her family was around too much and that she was constantly glued to her iPhone.

A good wife: The Keeping Up With The Kardashians star - seen here with friend Malika Haqq on May 4, 2011 - was often seen at Lamar's Lakers games

A good wife: The Keeping Up With The Kardashians star - seen here with friend Malika Haqq on May 4, 2011 - was often seen at Lamar's Lakers games

Still, in August 2011 he looked happy with his kids and Khloe at the Teen Choice Awards.

Lamar then faced his greatest rejection: in December 2011 the Lakers traded him to the Dallas Mavericks.

After lackluster performances on the court, he was released by the Mavericks in April 2012.

Khloe & Lamar also took an indefinite hiatus, but she still made it seem as if there was no trouble in paradise.

'Our show is not canceled,' Khloe told ET at the 2012 upfronts.

Close: In August 2011 with his kids at the Teen Choice Awards (left) and in June 2012 at the launch of their third fragrance, Unbreakable BondClose: In August 2011 with his kids at the Teen Choice Awards (left) and in June 2012 at the launch of their third fragrance, Unbreakable Bond

Close: In August 2011 with his kids at the Teen Choice Awards (left) and in June 2012 at the launch of their third fragrance, Unbreakable Bond

'Lamar and I have just chosen to take a break this summer. I feel like we’ve been on a whirlwind and doing back-to-back shows. We just want to take a little time off for Lamar to be with family time, kids, basketball, Olympics, you never know. We have a lot on our plate right now.'

In June 2012 the New York native joined the Los Angeles Clippers.

By fall he was traveling with the team and seemed to spend less and less time with his wife. There were photos of his partying with his teammates. And on January 16, 2013 he reportedly hung out at the strip club Downtown Cabaret in Minneapolis.

Oh baby: By September 2012 the beauty was sharing her struggle to conceive on Keeping Up With The Kardashians

Oh baby: By September 2012 the beauty was sharing her struggle to conceive on Keeping Up With The Kardashians

Khloe defended their marriage tirelessly and said they were fine but by the spring of 2013 rumors started to fly that Lamar was cheating.

Still, in June he was by Khloe's side for Kim's baby shower. But later that summer it was reported he had cheated with several women, including lawyer Polina Polonsky.

In August the Kardashian Kollection designer kicked him out of their house and he started living with friends. 

Reports of drug use surfaced, with Lamar accused of smoking the Class A drug crack cocaine.

Papa was an issue: The reality diva, seen here with Lamar's dad Joe Odom in January 2012, had some problems with the mostly absentee father

Papa was an issue: The reality diva, seen here with Lamar's dad Joe Odom in January 2012, had some problems with the mostly absentee father

But in October they were seen together twice: in her white Mercedes-Benz G-wagon on October 8 soon after her mom Kris announced her split from husband Bruce Jenner, and again on October 28 at Kanye West's concert in LA.

UsWeekly reported that on November 8 the two were getting couples counseling in Beverly Hills.

But after a videotape surfaced on November 22 (it was shot in early November) of Lamar slurring through a rap song where he admitted to stepping out on his wife 'on the DL,' she soon after stopped wearing her wedding rings. 

Reunited: After months of reported trouble, the athlete showed up with Khloe to Kim's June 2013 baby shower

Reunited: After months of reported trouble, the athlete showed up with Khloe to Kim's June 2013 baby shower

November 22, 2013, when she was leaving Sydney, Australia, was the last time she was pictured with the massive rock.

Throughout the fall she posted cryptic messages about the meaning of love, such as: 'I am wise because I've been foolish.'

It was Khloe who finally took the final step and filed for divorce - citing irreconcilable differences - in December that year.

In talks: In August 2013 she kicked Lamar out of their $4m Tarzana mansion, but on October 8 the 29-year old was seen driving him in her Mercedes-Benz G-wagon in Calabasas

In talks: In August 2013 she kicked Lamar out of their $4m Tarzana mansion, but on October 8 the 29-year old was seen driving him in her Mercedes-Benz G-wagon in Calabasas

The last straw?: On November 22 a video - filmed earlier that month - of the 34-year-old rapping about cheating on Khloe hit the web

The last straw?: On November 22 a video - filmed earlier that month - of the 34-year-old rapping about cheating on Khloe hit the web

But while divorce left both Lamar and Khloe devastated, they reacted differently.

Khloe turned her grief into a desire to get healthy - transforming her body with daily gym visits, and becoming an inspiration. 

Her slimmed down looks soon attracted the attention of rapper French Montana, and the two began a relationship, although she eventually decided it was too soon for her to move on.

Meanwhile Lamar moved to Spain, having signed a two-month deal with Laboral Kutxa of the Spanish ACB League. A back injury ruled him out of play - and he eventually managed just two games before he returned to the U.S. in early 2014.

Transformed: Once labelled 'the fat Kardashian', Khloe put her grief to work as she hit the gym with daily visits

Transformed: Once labelled 'the fat Kardashian', Khloe put her grief to work as she hit the gym with daily visits

In April 2014 he signed with the New York Knicks, but didn't make it onto the court before they dropped him in July.  

Throughout it all Khloe and Lamar remained in contact - with Lamar dragging out their divorce by refusing to sign the papers.

Indeed it wasn't until July this year that their divorce was officially finalised.

Not that this changed anything. 

Back in April of this year Khloe dished to E! News that she would 'never ever not love Lamar [Odom],' as she talked about her ex.

Struggling to move on: Lamar is pictured in March this year; he and Khloe only finally divorced in July

Struggling to move on: Lamar is pictured in March this year; he and Khloe only finally divorced in July

'I was so obsessed with him in a healthy way. He was my husband, and I still wish he was, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that,' she said.

And even more recently she remained in touch with Lamar, with a recent episode of KUWTK chronicling how Kim caught the two exchanging flirty messages over the phone. 

Now, as Lamar fights for his life after being found unconscious at Dennis Hof's Love Ranch South in Pahrump, Nevada, a devastated Khloe is racing to be at his side. 

Accompanied by her mother, Kris Jenner, and pregnant sister Kim, nothing will stop her from being there for her former husband.

Devastated: Khloe is pictured at a photoshoot on Tuesday; hours later she dropped everything to rush to the side of her ex-husband, after he was found unconscious in a brothel

Devastated: Khloe is pictured at a photoshoot on Tuesday; hours later she dropped everything to rush to the side of her ex-husband, after he was found unconscious in a brothel

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By Mathias Dillion 10/14/2015 00:06:00
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