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Troubled former Los Angeles Lakers/ Clippers big man Lamar Odom was arrested this morning in Los Angeles on suspicion of driving under the influence. The bust is just the latest in a long series of rumors and displays of erratic conduct that have transformed the former NBA Sixth Man of the Year from a happily married, well-liked player and reality television personality to an unemployed, possibly soon-to-be-divorced drug addict.
According to TMZ, Odom was on the 101 in the San Fernando Valley just outside Los Angeles a little before four AM this morning when police officers pulled up behind him. He was reportedly driving under the speed limit at around fifty miles per hour and in a “serpentine manner”. They signaled for him to pull over, but he allegedly plowed past three more exits before he either noticed or decided to care. Either way, officers were pretty suspicious when they approached the vehicle, and apparently, they had good reason to be.
Odom reportedly smelled of alcohol and acted like someone who was drunk, high or both. Several field sobriety tests were later administered, and the ex-NBA player reportedly failed them all. His car was later searched, though nothing was found, and he was taken to the station and charged with driving under the influence, though exactly what is unclear. Officers gave him the chance to take a chemical test, but he reportedly refused. He eventually paid his bond and was released with an appointment to return at some point in the future.
If Odom had even a shred of hope of playing in the NBA this season, it melted away with this arrest. The best he can hope for is to work himself back in playing shape and hope someone will give him a chance with a one year, veteran’s minimum salary next season. He’s not exactly a spring chicken at 33, but given how talented he is, he could potentially contribute somewhere down the line. He’s going to need to prove he can be reliable, however.
It’s unclear when exactly Odom’s problems with substance abuse began, but most place the origin, at least with hard drugs, near the end of his tenure with the Lakers. Hotel rooms started getting destroyed. His behavior started getting erratic, and he flipped out to an unreasonable level after the team tried to trade him. He later vowed not to play for the Lakers again and was eventually moved to Dallas, where the wheels came off almost immediately. He was godawful during his tenure with the team, appearing out of shape and failing to contribute. Eventually, he was paid just to go away, and his drug use apparently increased exponentially.
At wife Khloe Kardashian’s urging, he checked into rehab last summer and made it about three weeks. The Clippers offered him a contract prior to the season, and he actually played a lot of valuable minutes, helping the other LA team to a franchise record number of wins. Once the season was over, though, the wheels reportedly came off, and now, those closest to him are genuinely concerned about his safety.
Odom needs help, but in order for him to get that, he needs to recognize he has a problem. Here’s to hoping he does that quickly.