|Inside Lamar Odom's Ups and Downs|
|By LESLEY MESSER (@lesleymesser)||Aug 26, 2013, 1:59 PM|
This summer, a number of unconfirmed rumors have plagued Lamar Odom and his wife, Khloé Kardashian Odom, including infidelity, drug addiction, and most recently, a story that Odom had gone missing for three days.
"Lamar is not missing. His wife knows exactly where he is," his agent Jeff Schwartz told ESPN Monday. He did not comment on the other stories.
However, Kardashian Odom took to Twitter in defense of her family. "Really hard to sit here and listen to people talk s--- about my family!" she wrote. "F--- you and shame on you! I'm too protective for this s---!"
This is not the first time Odom has overcome adversity. Here's a look back at some of the basketball star's ups and downs.
Odom's life changed forever when his mother, Cathy Mercer, died of colon cancer when he was 12.
"When my mother died, I went on the court and played basketball all day, I didn't even go in the house to eat," he said on an episode of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians." "Just played basketball."
After Mercer's death, Odom was raised primarily by his grandmother, Mildred Mercer, who died in 2004 the L.A. Times reported.
"[My father] Joe had demons and battles that he had to overcome and he lost time," Odom said on an episode of his E! show, "Khloé & Lamar." "There are some people that are having a hard day, lay down and take a nap at 2, and they wake up and it's 5 in the afternoon. When Joe woke up, 17 years had passed and I was already a grown man."
In 1999, Odom was selected fourth overall in the NBA draft by the Los Angeles Clippers. His career started off with a bang: He was named to the 1999-2000 All-Rookie first team and later, he became the only player in the 2000-01 season to lead his team in points, rebounds, blocks, steals and minutes per game. He was the first player in Clipper history to accomplish such a feat.
In 2001, just one day after his 22nd birthday, Odom, who had been suspended for violating the NBA's anti-drug policy for a second time, admitted that he'd used marijuana.
"I made the mistake once, now it's twice," he told The Associated Press. "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, who at the time was playing for the Los Angeles Clippers, maintained that 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 2004, Odom, who was then playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, represented the United States in the summer Olympics in Athens, and took home the bronze medal. The trip also opened his eyes to other religions, according to and interview Odom gave ESPN, as he visited Istanbul, Turkey, while overseas.
"There's unity in Istanbul, where 99 percent are Muslim," he told ESPN. "In America, we're divided, even within Christianity. Presbyterians, Catholics, Baptists -- there's no unity. Too often, religion means infighting and holy wars and territory."
Odom did not play on another Olympic team, but in 2010 he helped the U.S. win its first FIBA World Championship since 1994 at the games in Istanbul.
Tragedy struck Odom in 2006, when his infant son Jayden died of sudden infant death syndrome. He and his then-girlfriend, Liza Morales, also were also raising an 8-year-old daughter, Destiny, and a 5-year-old son, L.J., according to an AP story from that time.
"Sometimes, I need to be by myself, whether it's a week or two weeks," he said. "My family has been understanding. There was a time when I thought basketball wasn't going to be able to heal the wound."
However, Odom, who also had a record deal and his own T-shirt line, said that his fans' support helped him cope.
"It's been amazing. The everyday person in the street has reached out and felt me a little bit," he said. "The Lakers, the organization, has been great, stood by me. They really understood how hard I was going to be hit like this."
In 2009, just four weeks after Odom met Kardashian, the two were married in a lavish, black-tie wedding in Beverly Hills. (E!'s TV cameras captured the entire thing for a TV special.) Though Odom made appearances on Kardashian's family's reality show, "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," the two got their own series, "Khloé & Lamar," in 2011.
The show, which followed the couple's ups and downs (including their well-documented struggle to have a baby) only aired for two seasons.
The summer of 2011 was an especially hard time for Odom. In July, he attended a funeral in New York City for a cousin whom he said was murdered, and the next day, Odom was involved in an accident that ended in a teen's death.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the SUV in which he was riding collided with an out-of-control motorcycle and hit a 15-year-old, Awsaf Alvi Islam, who died of head injuries a day later.
"Death is always around me," Odom told the paper. "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."
In December 2011, the Lakers traded Odom to the Dallas Mavericks, though the fit proved to be a bad one. A few months later, in April, he left the team.
"The Mavericks and I have mutually agreed that it's in the best interest of both parties for me to step away from the team," Odom said in a statement to ESPN.com. "I'm sorry that things didn't work out better for both of us, but I wish the Mavs' organization, my teammates and Dallas fans nothing but continued success in the defense of their championship."
In June 2012, he was traded back to the Clippers, and he and his wife moved back to Los Angeles, where they live today.
Odom is currently a free agent, reportedly drawing interest from the Clippers and Lakers.