Lamar Odom's Life Was Hard, Which Is Why He Deserves A Lot More Than What He's Been Dealt

I was never the biggest Lakers fan, but I always rooted for Lamar Odom. It wasn't because he's a two-time NBA champion. It wasn't because he was rightfully named Sixth Man of the Year. It wasn't because he was married to Khloé Kardashian. It was because even though Lamar Odom's life was hard, beyond what any of us could ever imagine, the man overcame adversity time and time again.

Before the reality TV cameras and multimillion-dollar NBA contracts, there was Little Lloyd, a lanky candy-loving kid from Queens, New York, whose talent could have been sidelined at any moment by troubles at home. Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated probably summed it best in his poignant 2009 profile of the basketball star:

In the years after, Odom was traded away in tears from the team he loved, saw his highly publicized marriage fail, got a DUI, went to rehab, was vilified as a drug addict, and lost two best friends to drug-related deaths within a week of each other. That smile we loved on the court hid a lot of pain that was happening off.

Odom has always been a good guy. There's a reason why the league has come to a standstill at reports of his hospitalization, why former teammate Kobe Bryant left his pre-season game in the third quarter for "personal reasons" — and showed up at Odom's hospital.

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Odom is not perfect. But he is the guy you always hoped would work past his inner demons — some he created and others that were dealt by chance. Former coach Phil Jackson in 2006 understood, telling The New York Times:

Things don't look good right now, but the hope is that Odom will once again persevere so good things can once again come his way. Because in all honesty, he deserves it, which is why all of us should be praying up for Lamar.