Lamar Odom didn’t last long at the glittering intersection of championship success and Hollywood celebrity.
Cut loose by his beloved Los Angeles Lakers, followed everywhere by reality television crews, the humble kid from Queens who married into the Kardashian clan saw his life spiral out of control, and so did everyone else.
Khloe Kardashian tried to hide his addictions, then told the world she couldn’t save him. The two-time NBA champion landed on Skid Row, a regular tabloid target.
Then he seemed to drop out altogether before he was found unresponsive in a brothel this week and hospitalised, bringing his estranged wife, his former teammates, and the world’s attention back to his side.
Hospital authorities would not comment on the condition of the 35-year-old former NBA forward, but Reverend Jesse Jackson was among his visitors. Jackson said Odom was on life support and improving.
“Apparently from what the doctor said, he was much better off today than yesterday. He at least has some responsiveness now,” Jackson said. “He’s got tubes in him now, but we felt inspired by his presence.”
Odom was found face-down and alone on Tuesday after spending four days at the Love Ranch, a legal Nevada brothel.
Odom started “throwing up all kinds of stuff” after a 911 operator told them to turn him on his side, Love Ranch owner Dennis Hof said. Odom had “spent time socialising with some of my girls”, but wasn’t seen taking any illegal drugs, Hof said.
In a recording of a 911 call, Hof’s spokesman Richard Hunter said Odom was breathing but in a “deep sleep” and had fluid coming from his nose and mouth.
“He sounds like he’s snoring a little bit. But he is breathing consistently,” Hunter said.
It was Odom’s first visit to the Love Ranch, and he told employees he did cocaine before he arrived on Saturday, Hunter said.
Odom also took up to 10 tabs of an over-the-counter sexual performance enhancer over the course of his stay, Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly said at a news conference. Sheriff’s detective Michael Eisenloffel described the enhancers as supplements and said that Odom bought them at the brothel.
Authorities took a blood sample from Odom to determine what was in his system. The results could take weeks, Eisenloffel said.
Odom spent most of his 14-year NBA career in Los Angeles with the Lakers and Clippers, becoming a fan favourite before he sought even more fame with the Kardashians.
His one-month courtship of Khloe before their huge 2009 wedding was taped for the E! network, and Odom appeared on nearly two dozen episodes of Keeping Up with the Kardashians as well as other family spinoffs, including his own Khloe & Lamar show in 2011 and 2012.
Even after they split in 2013, cameras recorded her calling him and checking on his welfare.
Even his once-estranged father, Joe Odom, was at the hospital, according to his grandmother, Florence Odom.
Authorities were called to the brothel at about 3.15pm on Tuesday. Odom was taken to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas.
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