As a part of the trade that sent Shaquille O’Neal to the Miami Heat, the Lakers received forward Lamar Odom in return. Odom went on to become a fan favorite in his seven seasons with the Lakers, as he was a part of two championship teams and won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award in 2011.
The Lakers ended up trading him to the Dallas Mavericks though after that season, and he was never the same player after that as he played just one season in Dallas and one season with the Los Angeles Clippers before being out of the league completely.
Odom suffered a near-death experience in October 2015, as he was hospitalized and put in a coma after being found unconscious at a Nevada brothel. He was placed on life support after suffering kidney failure, several strokes and other drug-related injuries that almost cost him his life.
While he has made a full recovery, Odom looks back on being traded by the Lakers as the moment that ended his career, via Shams Charania of The Vertical:
“That trade from the Lakers basically ended my career and purpose,” Odom told The Vertical. “I was never really myself ever again. Being in L.A., the structure, the people I knew, it hurt leaving. I had great memories with the Lakers, with Kobe and Pau. That was a special time in my life.
“I think about it all the time, about how much I had left in the tank. I had issues going on. But barring injury, could I play in the NBA today? I could play. I should still be playing.”
Odom is now sober and looking to get back involved in the NBA, as he has approached Lakers head coach Luke Walton about a job on his coaching staff. His college coach also recently said that he would like to play in Ice Cube’s BIG3 League.
Additionally, Odom said that there are currently plans in the works for him to officially retire as a Laker, which will be exciting for Laker fans as his best years came while wearing the purple and gold.