By Sarah Montez —
He lived fast and punished his body with riotous living. Four years ago, NBA Legend Lamar Odom nearly lost his life to a drug overdose in Las Vegas. Last month, he finally surrendered his heart and life to Jesus Christ in Atlanta.
“I had to show Jesus my appreciation for keeping me alive!” he told People magazine. “Nowadays I’m doing the best I can in walking with the Lord. Thanks to Pastor Vernon @drravernon, I got saved at @thewordchurch this weekend.”
Lamar was named Parade’s national player of the year out of high school in 1997. After playing one season at the University of Rhode Island, he signed for the LA Clippers and was named the NBA rookie of the year. He formed part of the LA Lakers’ league winning teams in 2009 and 2010.
But the South Jamaica Queens native followed his father, a heroin user, into addiction. While on the Clippers he was busted twice by the NBA’s anti drug rules and later he faked urine tests with the help of friends and fake body parts, he admitted.
Lamar, who no longer plays basketball, met and married Khloé Kardashian in 2009 but says he cheated on her innumerable times, and eventually the reality show star divorced him in October 2015.
“I had broken my vows with Khloé so many times it’s just impossible for me to remember them all,” he told US Weekly. “I don’t know why Khloé stayed with me.”
Lamar was a consummate team player on the court, but off the court, his life was a mess. After catching a DUI in 2013, Lamar overdosed two years later after crossing cocaine, cognac and cannabis at a Las Vegas brothel called the Love Ranch.
This was his lifestyle, when days blended into nights surrounded by beautiful women and “a mound of drugs.”
On October 13, 2015, his world came crashing down when his body finally rebelled against the excesses. “I lay on the floor in my room at the Ranch, dying,” he said later. “My body was convulsing. The women who kept me company screamed and called 911.”
Lamar was rushed to the Sunrise Hospital where he lingered between life and death.
“My heart stopped twice. I had twelve seizures and six strokes,” he said. “My lungs collapsed and my kidneys ruptured. I was on life support. Everyone I’d ever loved was looking at me through bleary eyes.”
He woke up the next day confused and disoriented. He tried to pull out the tubes from his body. He tried to speak and panicked because he couldn’t.
“That was the scariest part. And not being able to walk,” he says. “I’m a big athlete you know?”
He was transferred to a hospital in Los Angeles and released after three months. He had cheated death. He got into rehab as part of a reality series called “Rebound.”
Still, he didn’t immediately come to his senses. It wasn’t until last month that Lamar came to Jesus and thanked Him for a second chance on life.
In addition to kicking the drug habit, Lamar says he’s sunk down the drain a porn addiction.
“My doctors say I’m a walking miracle; they’re amazed that I’m here,” Lamar told CBN. “I always knew I had a strong will. I think my will is even stronger than I believed it was…When I woke up and I couldn’t talk or walk I never thought I would be here.”
Sarah Montez studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy of Santa Monica.