History of Lamar Odom’s drug use revealed, was suspended from NBA in 2001 for failed drug tests

Lamar Odom drugs

For the past four years, Lamar Odom has been well represented by the Kardashian spin machine. But, now that his troubles seem to be beyond momager Kris Jenner’s control, all of the skeletons are falling out of his closet. One of the more shocking revelations is that Lamar has reportedly struggled with drug addiction for the past two years. In reality, Lamar’s turbulent relationship with drugs extends back to at least 2001, when he was suspended by the NBA for failed two drug tests.

This wasn’t exactly a secret, at least among loyal NBA fans. Stories about his tearful press conference are still archived online. Fans also knew the NBA player was personally affected by drug addiction: He often talked about his strained relationship with his father, a heroin addict who wasn’t involved in his life.

Still, neither Lamar nor the Kardashians rushed to publicize Lamar’s own battle with drugs. Based on his appearances in both magazines and on Kardashian shows, Lamar managed to overcome the “crack cocaine-infested neighborhood” he grew up in.

In many ways, Lamar did overcome. His early drug use should not be overstated, as he did have a phenomenal start to his career. After playing at the University of Rhode Island for two years, Lamar was the fourth pick during the 1999 NBA draft and began his professional career with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Yet, Lamar’s reputation was marred by drug-use allegations even during those early days.

“Drug rumors and some doubts about his character bumped him from the top spot in the 1999 draft down to the fourth pick, which is where the Clippers found him,” The Los Angeles Times reported in 2001. There was no clarification in terms of the “doubts about his character,” but that may have been related to Lamar’s 1997 arrest for soliciting a prostitute in Las Vegas.

Lamar Odom Clippers 1999

Nonetheless, Lamar was an undeniable star on the lesser-known Los Angeles team, earning the title of top-scorer in 2000.

Then a couple of Lamar’s bad decisions caught up to him. He failed a NBA drug test in March 2001 and claimed to have learned his lesson. Then he failed another test in November 2001.

“I chose to experiment with marijuana, that’s why I’m here right now,” Lamar tearfully admitted during a November 2001 press conference “I’ll be receiving counseling, that’s not rehab.”

Lamar Odom 2001 Suspension Press Conference
^ Lamar crying during the 2001 press conference.

Two years after that five-game suspension, Lamar admitted to The Miami Herald that his problem was worse than previously revealed.

“I just couldn’t control myself in L.A. … the lifestyle that I was living and the things I had access to … A lot of times I’d think about it and say, ‘Damn, am I fighting my father’s demons … ‘”

Lamar impressively managed to get his act together and was reportedly clean for nearly 10 years. He went on to win two NBA championships and played on the Olympic team.

Then, in 2011, he was devastated by two back-to-back tragedies. First, one of Lamar’s cousins was killed by gun violence in New York. Two days later, Lamar was riding in the car when his chauffeur struck and killed a pedestrian. Based on the timeline of events being reported by TMZ, that was when Lamar began using crack cocaine.

Since then, Lamar’s career has been in decline. He was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in December 2011. While there, he had a career-low scoring average. He was traded back to the team he began with during the 2012 draft, but didn’t earn the same respect on the Clippers’ squad as in his early playing years. (Although 33-year-old Lamar’s age may be a factor, there are many NBA players with continued success throughout their mid- and late-30s.)

Now, it seems the status of Lamar’s NBA career is the least of his worries. If he is truly as involved with crack cocaine as multiple sources are reporting, then his first priority needs to be on getting sober. The good news is that he’s seemingly done it before — and should be able to do it again.

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