Less than three years ago, Lamar Odom was busy averaging 14.4 PPG and 8.7 RPG en route to winning the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award. But his basketball career has taken a definite downward spiral since then after problems with alcohol abuse and a DUI arrest.
A two-time champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, Odom was hoping to revive his career and reputation with a stint in Europe. Last month, he signed a deal with Laboral Kutxa of the Spanish ABC League for two months, with an option to extend the deal. Unfortunately, this arrangement is ending even shorter than expected because Odom has been forced out of action with a back injury.
After traveling back to the United States, his personal doctors in New York ruled him unfit to play. This means his contract with Laboral Kutxa has ended, though, the team didn’t rule out the possibility of a return. Laboral Kutxa released a statement saying, “The club hopes that the recovery process will go well and leaves open the possibility of resuming a future commitment to the player depending on the evolution of his injury.”
The team went on to state that Odom suffered from lumbar radiculitis, which is a spinal injury that leads to intense lower back pain. The 34-year-old power forward was only able to play in two games for a total of 23 minutes, scoring just two points with Laboral Kutxa.
“This is something that is beyond my control,” Odom said. “This is beyond anyone’s control. It’s up to me as a responsible athlete to, if I’m injured, to take care of it. I think everything happens for a reason. I look forward to getting back on court as soon as possible. I want to treat this injury and be aggressive and treat it and get it done.”
As mentioned before, Odom’s basketball career hasn’t been going so well lately. And this setback with his Spanish team is just another huge blow to the 14-year veteran. Odom’s best years are clearly behind him. However, it still seems like he can contribute to a team, as he showed with the Clippers last year, averaging 4.0 PPG and 5.7 RPG in 82 games.
The window of opportunity for him to play the game again is closing, though. If Lamar can get healthy and refocused on basketball, there’s a good chance that he’ll get at least one more chance with either an NBA or European team.