Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/4/13
Lamar Odom was their leader. He pointed the way setting a tone for a group of Lakers reserves that helped win two straight NBA titles. By embracing his role coming off the bench he showed teammates like Jordan Farmar Josh Powell and Shannon Brown what it meant to be part of a championship team. Now nearly five seasons removed from the first of the Lakers' back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010 those who followed the lefty with the easy smile and smooth game hope he can find his way out of some dark days. "It sucks to hear" Farmar said in a phone interview this week when asked about the string of misfortunes following Odom these days from alleged drug use to an arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence. "It's unfortunate. A couple of us have reached out to him and haven't heard back. That's just a sign of him going through some tough times." Tough times are nothing new for Odom. As Lee Jenkins wrote poignantly in a 2009 Sports Illustrated profile: "The happiest Laker is one whose father was addicted to heroin; whose mother died of colon cancer when he was 12; who attended three high schools; had his first college scholarship revoked before the fall of his freshman year; became a subject of three college investigations; declared for the NBA draft; tried unsuccessfully to pull out of the draft; was picked by arguably the worst franchise in sports; violated the league's antidrug policy twice within eight months; and after finally getting his life together went home to New York City for an aunt's funeral and wound up burying his 6 1/2-month-old son Jayden then getting robbed at gunpoint." And in the summer of 2011 Odom experienced more tragedy when while home in New York City for a cousin's funeral the driver of the car service Odom was a passenger in struck a motorcyclist who in turn ended up colliding with and killing a 15-year-old boy.
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