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Downfall of a Nice Guy

There is no assurance that gifts will guarantee a happy life. From the outside looking in, it may seem that earning millions of dollars each year, being recognized by your peers and rising to the top of your profession would be enough to be happy. The sad truth is that it isn’t enough. Ask Latrelle Sprewell, Allen Iverson or, recently, Lamar Odom. Fame, fortune, or time with friends may be inadequate to overcome the pain of a childhood filled with trauma.

It is without a doubt Lamar was talented. I still remember the rangy six-foot ten-inch person who could handle the ball like a point guard, and shoot from any spot on the floor. He played a different brand of basketball. He was touted as the next Magic Johnson. His journeyman career masked a potential that was always present but less often visible. His friends stuck by his side and never forgot him. Whether it was Kobe Bryant visiting him in the hospital, or Phil Jackson seeking to rescue him from oblivion by bringing him in to help the Knicks; he was well liked.

Recently, it almost came to an end for Lamar at a Nevada brothel where he was found unconscious by prostitutes he had contacted to be his escorts on a $75,000 three-day stay. They say he was near broke even though Forbes Magazine estimated his 2015 net worth at $50 million. I must have missed the memo when they redefined the word “broke”. Even the appearance of his estranged wife, reality tv star Khloe Kardashian, did little to help his condition. Khloe and her family still have much to gain from his situation, and I am sure the cameras were not far behind during her visit.

Lamar had a difficult childhood. Raised by his grandmother; his mother died before he was a teenager and his father is reputed to be addicted to drugs for the majority of his life. The pain that he must have felt from these earlier difficulties was probably never overcome. The recent loss of a friend may have taken Lamar over the edge. It seems that he was very unhappy and sought to sedate himself with drugs and sex. This is a potent mix that often ends in tragedy.

Despite this occurrence, Lamar is still alive, at least at the time of this blog post. And the truth is he has another chance to embrace a better life – a life that is not driven by addiction, talent, riches or fame. He already had all of those, and it did not give him complete happiness. He took for granted his life, friends and health. These are things that money can’t buy. These are the things for which we should be thankful; they are irreplaceable. Riches and fame may come and go, and we are indeed blessed to have them at some point during our lives. It seems to me that these things are beyond our control. Maybe the lesson learned by Magic Johnson will also redeem Lamar Odom. Riches can be achieved even in the most difficult circumstances if you only realize what’s really important.

I wish Lamar the best and I hope that he recovers. I also hope he can embrace what’s most important and live the rest of his life focused on the blessings he has received rather than the bad hand he believes he has been dealt.

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