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Lamar Odom: The ups and downs of a beloved NBA star




Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Clippers looks on during a game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on Feb. 8, 2013 in Miami, Florida.
Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Clippers looks on during a game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on Feb. 8, 2013 in Miami, Florida.
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Lamar Odom remains in a Las Vegas hospital on Thursday after he was found unconscious in nearby brothel two days before.

According to the Nye County Sheriff's Department, Odom had taken cocaine and a Viagra-like medication in the days before he was found by workers at the brothel.

Odom won two championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, but along with his athletic success, he has had his share of tragedies and personal struggles. By the time he was 27, Odom's mother had died of cancer, and his infant son died of SIDS. Two years ago, he was arrested for DUI and spent three months in alcohol rehab. 

"Lamar Odom's life has been steadily spinning out of control for a few years, and it's just ... it's incredibly sad," said Andy Kamenetzky, who spent time covering Odom when he played for the Lakers. "I don't remember the last time I felt this personally sad on a human level watching an athlete go through struggles."

During his time with the Lakers, Kamenetzky remembered Odom as the emotional leader of the team's championships.

"Kobe was the alpha dog, Derek Fisher was their conscience, but Lamar was their heart. He was always this heart-on-the sleeve presence in the locker room, but he was also this very old soul," Kamenetzky said.

Teammates, fans and the media alike loved Odom, but his time with the Lakers came to a halt before the 2012 season, when he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks. As an athlete, Odom was never the same, Kamenetzky said. 

"He was blindsided by that trade, and unfortunately it coincided right around the same time as an incident where Lamar was in New York for the funeral of his cousin, who had been killed, and the car that he was in ended up getting into an accident. Lamar wasn't driving, but it was an accident that killed this young kid," Kamenetzky said. "I've always felt that that incident triggered a lot of emotions for Lamar ... It was a lot for him to handle, especially away from the Lakers, which were like family to him."   

To listen to the full interview, click on the blue audio player above.