Lamar Odom is a retired American professional basketball player who played in the NBA for 14 seasons. He was a fan favorite and gained widespread popularity during his career for his talent on the court and his larger-than-life personality off of it. But why exactly do so many fans adore Lamar Odom? Let’s explore some of the main reasons.
His Basketball Skills and Achievements
One of the biggest reasons Odom was so beloved was simply because he was an exceptionally gifted basketball player. At 6’10” with guard-like ball handling skills, he was able to dominate games in a variety of ways. Here are some of Lamar’s major on-court achievements that dazzled fans:
- NCAA champion with University of Rhode Island in 1998
- Fourth overall draft pick in 1999 NBA draft
- 2011 Sixth Man of the Year award
- 2 NBA championship rings with the LA Lakers (2009, 2010)
- Played key role in Lakers’ finals runs in 2008-2010 as versatile big man
- Averaged 13.3 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game over 14 NBA seasons
- Known for uncanny court vision and passing abilities for a big man
Lamar possessed a rare blend of size, skill and basketball IQ that allowed him to stuff stat sheets and make winning plays on a nightly basis. Fans marveled at his natural talent and unique style of play.
Memorable Lakers Moments
Lamar was an instrumental part of the late 2000s Lakers championship teams led by Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and others. He had countless memorable playoff performances, but a few stand out:
- In Game 3 of 2009 conference finals, Odom scored 12 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter to lead LA to a come-from-behind win over Denver. The Lakers would go on to win the series and NBA title that year.
- His 32-point, 15-rebound masterpiece in Game 5 of the 2010 Western Conference Finals helped LA rally from an 0-2 deficit to defeat Phoenix. They would repeat as champions that season.
- In 2011, Odom won Sixth Man of the Year, providing valuable scoring and rebounding off the bench for the Lakers all season long.
Lamar always seemed to rise to the occasion when it mattered most in the postseason for those great Lakers teams. His clutch play created many iconic moments that fans still reminisce about.
His Magnetic Personality
Beyond his talent and accolades, Lamar Odom simply had an infectious personality that drew people to him. He was:
- Charismatic and charming both on and off the court
- Known for flashing a warm smile and having a joyful spirit
- Regularly interacted with fans before games by signing autographs and taking pictures
- Gracious and friendly towards reporters during interviews
- Developed a reputation as an outgoing, fun-loving jokester
Teammates and coaches alike adored Lamar for his upbeat attitude and vibrant energy. He helped lighten moods in the locker room and made the grueling NBA season more enjoyable for fellow players.
Fans connected with his magnetic, larger-than-life personality that shined through in public appearances. Lamar Odom was simply the kind of celebrity people felt like they knew personally due to his affable charm.
TV Fame from Khloe & Lamar
Lamar boosted his celebrity status even further by co-starring with then-wife Khloe Kardashian in their own reality television show Khloe & Lamar on E! network. The show debuted in 2011 and ran for two seasons encompassing over 40 episodes.
- Allowed fans an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at Lamar’s life
- Showcased his fun-loving personality outside of basketball
- Featured his tight-knit bond with the Kardashian family
- Provided a glimpse of his and Khloe’s ultimately tumultuous relationship
The show introduced Lamar to a whole new audience outside of just sports fans. It revealed a different side of his character not visible from basketball coverage alone. Many came to love Lamar’s honesty, humor and heart on display in Khloe & Lamar.
His Authenticity and Openness about Personal Struggles
In recent years, Lamar has become extremely open about his battles with drug addiction, depression and personal loss. Despite achieving so much career success, he has gone through unimaginable hardship and tragedy off the court.
Some of the challenges he has courageously made public include:
- Drug problems that started in his youth and continued through the NBA
- Death of his 6-month-old son Jayden in 2006
- His best friend Jamie Sangouthai’s death in 2011
- Divorce from Khloe Kardashian in 2013
- Falling into a severe depression after his NBA career ended
- Infamous four-day coma after a near-fatal overdose in 2015
- Ongoing substance abuse issues even after the coma
Rather than hide his vulnerability, Lamar has shared his story and recovery process with the world. His authenticity has allowed fans to connect with him on a profoundly deeper level. It’s a reminder that even the most talented celebrities are human too.
Many admire Lamar’s strength to battle back from the brink and restart his life after so much loss. His openness about mental health and addiction reduces stigma and inspires others experiencing similar issues.
His Comeback Efforts
After hitting rock bottom physically and mentally around 2015, Lamar Odom has embarked on a redemption arc to turn his life around completely. Some examples of his comeback efforts include:
- Checking into rehab and maintaining years of sobriety
- Rekindling his relationship with his two children Destiny and Lamar Jr.
- Returning to basketball by joining the Big 3 league in 2018
- Getting back into peak physical shape and training regimen
- Openly discussing his recovery journey to inspire others
- Rebuilding his brand through a docuseries, book deal and more
- Focusing on self-improvement and overcoming past demons
Rather than retire from public life, Lamar displays perseverance and mental strength in clawing his way back after nearly losing everything. He embraces his second chance at life and sobriety with open arms.
Fans respect that despite all he’s gone through, Lamar values his family, health and making the most of each day now. His comeback is far from over, and many supporters are in his corner each step of the way.
Table Highlighting Lamar’s Career Stats
|Points Per Game
|Rebounds Per Game
|Assists Per Game
|LA Clippers/NY Knicks
*Per game stats rounded to nearest tenth
Why Lamar’s Story Resonates with Fans
When looking at the full scope of Lamar Odom’s life and career, it becomes clear why he is so beloved despite his flaws. Fans gravitate towards Lamar because:
- His basketball talent and achievements were undeniable
- He played the game with infectious joy and flair
- His friendly personality brought positivity to those around him
- He achieved pop culture fame beyond just sports
- He has been honest about his demons and vulnerabilities
- He embodies resilience in the face of tragedy and loss
- His comeback story provides inspiration and hope
Lamar Odom’s incredible highs, unthinkable lows and redemption journey make him one of basketball’s most compelling figures. He is both gifted and deeply human. For all these reasons and more, Lamar will always have an adoring fanbase cheering him on wherever his next chapter may lead.
Lamar Odom’s journey has been a rollercoaster filled with sobering lows but also incredible accomplishments and personal victories. He is a gifted athlete but also a flawed, authentic human being who people feel deeply connected to.
Despite ongoing struggles with addiction, loss and depression, Lamar displays the inner strength to take life one day at a time and turn himself around. His refusal to give up resonates with supporters who want to see him healthy and thriving the rest of his days.
At his core, Lamar Odom spreads love, lives joyfully and lifts up those around him through good times and bad. That is why he remains so beloved by dedicated fans who will cheer on Lamar every step of the way.
Frequently Asked Questions about Lamar Odom’s Appeal
What were Lamar’s best basketball skills?
Despite being 6’10”, Lamar possessed point guard-like ball handling ability and court vision. He could grab a rebound, drive coast-to-coast in transition and either finish strong at the rim or deliver a beautiful pass to an open teammate. His versatility made him nearly impossible to defend.
What was Lamar’s role on the Lakers championship teams?
Lamar came off the bench for the 2009 & 2010 title teams as the defensive anchor and secondary playmaker next to Kobe Bryant. He strengthened LA’s size advantage and filled up box scores with points, rebounds and assists as the Sixth Man of the Year in 2011.
How did fans react when Khloe and Lamar got married?
Fans were excited but surprised when the couple had a whirlwind marriage after knowing each other just one month. Marrying into fame with Khloe Kardashian raised Lamar’s celebrity profile. Their wedding special Keeping Up with the Kardashians drew over 2 million viewers.
Why did the Kardashians embrace Lamar so closely?
Lamar’s vibrant, fun-loving personality meshed perfectly with the Kardashian family. They grew incredibly close through countless family dinners, vacations and special appearances on their TV show. Lamar gave back by forming a close father-son bond with Khloe’s little brother Rob Kardashian.
What happened during Lamar’s near-fatal overdose in 2015?
Lamar overdosed at a Nevada brothel after taking cocaine and herbal Viagra. He fell into a four-day coma with multiple organ failure and only a 50% chance of survival. Khloe rushed to be by his side until he stabilized, showcasing her lasting love and loyalty through such a crisis.