Kobe Leaves Game to Be At Odom’s Bedside

Further evidence of how critical the situation with Lamar Odom has become is the smoke and mirror subterfuge of last night’s Lakers game in Las Vegas. Kobe Bryant suffered a minor injury to his calf/knee and left for the locker room for treatment in the third quarter. He didn’t return to the bench even as the injury was considered not to be serious. The Lakers insisted he was getting treatment. Post-game, Kobe didn’t speak to the media because he had already exited the arena for “personal reasons.”

The very personal reason was his former teammate, friend, and “brother” lay in a coma, unresponsive to the external world. Kobe joined the rest of the Kardashians in prayer and vigil as Odom remained unconscious and in a desperate struggle to remain alive. It was reported last night that Odom’s heart was failing him, plundering him into a gray abyss, not life but not death either. Early this morning ESPN reported a source saying the next 48 hours were critical for Lamar Odom’s recovery.

Kobe Bryant leaving a NBA game before it is over reveals the depth of the relationship he built with Odom over time, and how worried he is and, perhaps, even scared. Dwayne Wade is anxious too. His comments last night and this morning are of a friend who is desperate for Odom to recover.

“I can’t help but be up right now thinking about my ex-teammate/friend LO…On my knees praying…please God let him pull through.”

Wade and Odom played in Miami for one year. It was Wade’s rookie year and not much was expected of the Heat but they made the playoffs and lost in the second round to Indiana. The bond between Wade and Odom was formed and it went beyond basketball. The next year Odom was traded to the Lakers and the bond between him and Bryant formed and it went beyond basketball.

There was quiet sentiment that the best thing that happened to Odom was Khloe Kardashian and the worst thing that happened to Odom was Khloe Kardashian, specifically their reality show. The Khloe & Lamar show incentivized behavior absent of boundaries. The audience was required to be reactionary. To loathe, to cringe, to laugh, to scorn. Odom, who needed love like a flower needs sunlight, was paralyzed in the reality show’s glare. It became a burden to him, all of those damned cameras. Playing basketball then was the escape.

On every team he has ever played for Lamar Odom has been the most loved player. He collects friends and anoints them as family. At times, it seemed as if his spirit was too generously kind and giving for the world at large, the world that had brought to his life so much damage. Too much had happened to Lamar Odom the human soul, and on the surface, it seemed as if he muddled through the dark areas of his life like anyone else, good days here, bad days there. But, over time it became apparent that his sensitive nature made it nearly impossible to navigate a world as the sole recipient of so much tragedy and unfairness. The body keeps score. The body always wins.

Luke Walton, interim coach of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors, and a teammate of Odom’s on the Lakers, said what many are thinking today.

“Lamar is a brother to me. I absolutely love that man. It’s tough thinking about him just laying there”

photo via llananba