Lamar Odom coming to terms with summer tragedies
Given all the pain and suffering that's followed Lamar Odom at nearly every turn, he's still maintained a positive outlook and has drawn inspiration from it.
His mother, Cathy Mercer, died of colon cancer when he was 12. His grandmother Mildred Mercer, who raised him, died in 2004. His son Jayden, at only 7 months old, died of sudden infant death syndrome in his crib in 2006. Yet, Odom has persevered, honored them in pregame rituals and often thinks about them for both guidance and perspective.
The pain struck again this month. Odom attended a funeral in New York for his 24-year-old cousin, who he told The Times' Broderick Turner was killed. Then he was a passenger in a car that collided with a motorcycle and struck a 15-year-old pedestrian who later died.
"I think the effects of seeing [my cousin] die and then watching this kid die, it beat me down. I consider myself a little weak," Odom told Turner. "I thought I was breaking down mentally. I'm doing a lot of reflecting."
Some of that reflection, Turner reports, includes Odom reading a book, "Embraced by the Light," by Betty J. Eadie, which focuses on prayer and daily devotion. Odom also told Turner, "I may need to see a psychologist."
*Note: We will have a live chat today at 4 p.m. Below the jump are some other links
--NBA.com's Fran Blineburyprofiles the 1971-72 Lakers team.
--Pro Basketball Talk's Kurt Helin argues the Lakers have no other choice but to buy into what Lakers Coach Mike Brown wants.
--Fox Sports Arizona's Randy Hill believes it's unlikely Kobe Bryant and other NBA stars will play in China.
--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy Kamenetzky expresses amusement about NBA 2K11's video game simulation highlighting Bryant's career-high 81-point performance.
--Sports Illustrated's Zach Loweranks Lakers forward Ron Artest as the 83rd best NBA player.
--Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski believes Lakers guard and Players Assn. President Derek Fisher needs to be more aggressive with NBA Commissioner David Stern during negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement.
--Dirty Tackle's Brooks Peck looks at Bryant's rusty soccer skills.
--Silver Screen and Roll's Actuarially Sound delves into the second part of a series looking at which Lakers earned their paycheck.
--Lakers Nation's Alex Torres looks at Byrant's top five crossovers.
Rick Friedman reader comment of the day: "Magic Johnson was the man, is still the man, and will always be the man. He is the only player I know of in the NBA that played all three positions. it is too bad he had to retire while in his prime. He is doing good now for people with HIV and AIDS. He was my idol back in the day. I hope he keep up the good work with people that are infected, and other people that have the grades, but don't have the $$$$...." -- Michael J. Webb
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Photo: Lakers forward Lamar Odom is trying to come to terms with a pair of tragedies that have weighed heavily on him over the last few weeks. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times / May 11, 2011)