Former Sixth Man of the Year, NBA Champion and Los Angeles Lakers fan favorite Lamar Odom will be making his return to the basketball court this summer. On Wednesday, it was announced that Odom would be participating in the upcoming Big 3 season as co-captain of the Enemies alongside Gilbert Arenas and Perry Jones II.
Odom hasn’t played professional basketball since 2014 and there was a time it seemed doubtful he’d ever play basketball — or walk — again. For the last several years, Odom has been recovering from a drug overdose that sent him into a coma in 2015. During the coma, Odom said he suffered 12 strokes and six heart attacks.
He’s not just lucky to be playing basketball again — he’s lucky to be alive.
Once Odom felt he was strong enough, the 39-year-old decided he was going to try and make a return to the basketball court. The person that motivated him to attempt a comeback? LeBron James, Odom told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:
“All my doctors say I’m a walking miracle,” Odom said. “They couldn’t really believe how I came back so fast. When I woke up I couldn’t walk or talk.”
Odom said he was driven to a basketball comeback by watching LeBron James achieve greatness during his last season with Cleveland in 2017-18. At 33 years old, James played 82 games and carried an underwhelming supporting cast to the NBA Finals.
During the 2017-18 playoffs, James averaged a dominant 34 points, 9.1 rebounds, 9 assists, 1.4 steals and a block per game while averaging 41.9 minutes per game. As underwhelming as his first year with the Lakers was, it’s important to remember that James is the baddest man on the planet when it’s winning time.
Meanwhile, Odom is just trying to get back to a point where he can compete at a high level:
Odom, who said he remains in top physical condition (“Looking good is big to me -- if it wasn’t for basketball, I’d look good anyway”), played with a Filipino team at a February tournament in Dubai. He was unimpressed with his performance.
“I was a bum,” Odom said. “It was good just to go out there and compete, get my feet wet. But I was a bum.”
The Big 3 is set to tip off on June 22 on CBS. While it would be nice to see Odom turn back the clock and put on a show, it’s safe to say it’s more important for him to go out there and have fun playing basketball again.