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Lamar Odom Biography


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Birth Name: Lamar Odom
Born: 11/06/1979
Birth Place: Queens, New York, USA


Odom was born in Queens, New York, on Nov. 6, 1979. After his mother died of cancer when Odom was 12 years old, he was raised by his grandmother. Odom became a basketball star at Christ the King High School in Queens, and during his summers played on a dominant AAU team with future NBA stars Elton Brand and Metta World Peace (aka Ron Artest). Odom transferred to St. Thomas Aquinas H.S. in Connecticut for his senior season, where he was named Player of the Year by PARADE magazine and All-USA 1st team by USA Today. In 14 years in the NBA, Odom has played for the Lakers, L.A. Clippers, Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks. Recruited by many of the nation's top college programs, Odom accepted a scholarship to UNLV. But before he ever stepped on the court for the Runnin' Rebels, the school released him amid an NCAA inquiry into benefits he allegedly received from a booster and questions about his ACT scores raised in a Sports Illustrated article. Odom transferred to Rhode Island, and after sitting out his freshman year, led the Rams to the 1999 NCAA tournament. Odom declared for the NBA draft that same year, where he was taken by the Clippers with the No. 4 overall pick. In his first pro game he put up 30 points and 12 rebounds, and capped the year by being named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team.

Odom had a prolific four-year run with the Clippers, but his success on the court was compromised by problems off the court -- most notably in 2001 when he was suspended five games for violating the NBA's anti-drug policy twice in an eight-month span. Odom revealed he "chose to experiment with marijuana" in a November 2001 press conference during the suspension. In 2003 he left the Clippers to sign with the Heat, playing one season there before being traded to the Lakers as part of the deal that brought Shaquille O'Neal to Miami. That same year, Odom played on the U.S. national team in the 2004 Athens Olympics, winning a bronze medal. Odom thrived in his second pro stint in L.A., complementing Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant on the perimeter and Pau Gasol on the interior. Odom developed into one of the league's most unique matchup problems for opposing teams, a constant triple-double threat that could play everything from point guard to center. The Lakers went to the NBA Finals three times in Odom's seven years with the franchise, winning two titles. Odom also played on Team USA during the 2010 FIBA World Championships, winning a gold medal while leading the team in rebounds.

However, a string of personal tragedies off the court weighed on Odom in the 2000s. On June 28, 2006, the same day Odom attended an aunt's funeral, his seven-month-old son Jayden passed away due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. (Odom has two other children, Destiny and Lamar Jr.) A week later, Odom was robbed at gunpoint in his old neighborhood in Queens. That summer Odom admitted he contemplated retirement: "I thought it might be time to walk away from the game," Odom said in a February 2007 interview with Dime. "Anyone, when they go through something like that, it will go through their head." In the summer of 2011, a cousin who was close to Odom died. While Odom and Kardashian were in New York for the funeral, their chauffeured SUV was involved in an accident that killed a teenage cyclist. Odom again considered stepping away from basketball.

He came back, but before the start of the 2011-12 NBA season, the Lakers agreed on a trade that would have sent Odom to the New Orleans Hornets. The league ultimately vetoed the deal, but Odom felt disrespected by the Lakers and requested a trade. He was sent to the Mavericks in December 2011. Odom struggled in Dallas, getting demoted to the team's D-League affiliate (think minor league) at one point and getting benched for an entire game for the first time in his NBA career a couple of weeks later. In April 2012, the Mavericks announced they were parting ways with Odom, shortly after he reportedly had an altercation with team owner Mark Cuban in the locker room. The Mavericks traded Odom to the Clippers in June 2012, where he played career-low minutes as a backup during the regular season but helped L.A. win a Pacific Division title.

In 2013, tabloids began documenting the reported disintegration of Odom and Kardashian's marriage, with Odom's August 30 arrest for driving under the influence in the San Fernando Valley fueling reports of a more serious substance abuse problem. Kardashian filed for divorce on Friday, December 13, 2013.