OPINION BY JACOB MCKAY
Lamar Odom is much more than who you think he is. He’s more than a reality television co- star, more than another athlete addendum to the Kardashian clan and more than just a former NBA player.
Lamar Odom is one of a kind.
As a basketball player, I remember Lamar Odom as an enigma. Incredibly tall at 6’10”, but incredibly lithe and deceptively quick, Odom would bring the ball all the way up the court and finish with his left hand, even though everyone in the league had to know he was left-handed.
For somebody his size, he had incredible ball-handling skills. Legendary coach Phil Jackson would often trust him to go one- on-one late in games when he played for the Lakers.
Winning NBA sixth man of the year in 2011 made what we already knew official: Lamar Odom could play. He helped the Lakers to two NBA titles, and helped secure Kobe Bryant’s legacy as one of the greatest players ever to touch a basketball.
But society doesn’t care. Society doesn’t recognize any
of Lamar Odom’s contributions to basketball. We also don’t respect him for them. He is simply another fallen celebrity. TMZ and others like them brought Odom down.
Lamar Odom is married to Khloe Kardashian, and what breaks my heart is that people only know him for being on a reality TV show.
The Kardashian family is notorious for adding new boyfriends to the spectacle of their lives frequently, but they are not always as well adjusted to constant paparazzi attention. Odom was drawn in to something that put him out of his element.
We live in a society that seeks to dehumanize celebrities, because we love to know when people are doing worse than we are. It is one of the worst parts of human nature.
Lamar Odom is a person who has experienced a great deal of loss in his life, and who has personal struggles that the public cannot fathom. When all we want out of our celebrities is another mistake, sometimes they give in.
Odom gave in, but we should not be so surprised. Indirectly, society wanted this to happen. Instead of watching somebody fail, and being surprised and disgusted and even heart broken about their situation, we should self-reflect.
Our society covertly promotes wanting to see people fail. When we see celebrities go through tough times, we need to ask ourselves how much longer we want to be bystanders in a culture that tears people apart.