The Best Sixth Man in The NBA: Lamar Odom

Hayden KimCorrespondent IIIMay 22, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 04:  Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers moves the ball while taking on the Utah Jazz during Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 4, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Does Lamar Odom have the best job in the world?

Is he the key to this unique Laker team?

Yes is the obvious answer to both these questions.

Lamar Odom was born into a rough life on the streets of Queen's, New York. As a kid he grew up barely knowing his parents. His father was a heroin addict and his mother sadly died of colon cancer when he was 12-years old. He grew up knowing his grandmother Mildred and playing basketball.

Most 12-year old's would have probably got into trouble to try and cope for their losses but Lamar had a way out. Luckily Lamar was blessed with a strong healthy body standing at 6'10" and flying across the court like an eagle. His love for the game and his God-given ability allowed him to grow up and get out of the tough life he once lived.

Imagine yourself living in a life of luxury and fame when your old home town was filled with gangs and criminals and a dead end lifestyle. Lamar Odom is one of the hand-full of players that come from this exact back ground. At one point he was probably living in a one bedroom apartment with a low income and now he is living in Beverley Hill's in a 10 bedroom house with a swimming pool and a basketball court. It's crazy what life has in store for some people.

There may have been a red carpet laid out for Mr. Odom, but it still took dedication and hard work to achieve his ultimate goal: To play in the NBA.

Lamar played for three different high school teams: Christ The King Regional High School, Redemption Christian Academy and lastly St. Thomas Aquinas High School in New Britain, Connecticut. He was named to the USA Today All-USA First Team as a senior.

It seemed a though Lamar's life had been a breeze for him in at least the basketball perspective.

Lamar played and attended UNLV in 1997. Lets just say that it wasn't a long visit. Lamar was secretly receiving $5000-$6000 payments from a man named David Chapman. Coach Bill Bayno was immediately fired and Lamar was left alone and stunned.

Lamar then transferred to University of Rhode Island and though he sat out the 1997-98 season, he thrived averaging 17.6 points per game and led the Rams to the conference championship in 1999.

Once again Lamar was on top. I guess you could say life seemed to have many surprises in hand for this young man.

Lamar entered the NBA after completing his first year at the University of Rhode Island and he was selected fourth overall in the 1999 NBA Draft to the Los Angeles Clippers. Sounds like a happy ending to a sad fairy tale doesn't? Think again.

Lamar had decided to smoke "weed" or Marijuana at his stay with the Clippers. He admitted to smoking and was suspended for violating the NBA's drug policy. During the offseason Lamar was acquired by the Miami Heat and he played for them in the 2003-2004 season. He once again bounced back from the punches life threw at him. It seemed as though Lamar had matured and become a better man.

Then the best thing happened to Lamar in the offseason of the 2004 season. He was once again acquired by another team. Were not talking about the Clippers or the Heat, were talking about the best NBA franchise ever. The Los Angeles Lakers.

Though Lamar was not consistent right away his talent kept the Lakers' hopes up. They knew he could be the key to the Lakers winning more titles.

Odom wanted what everybody else did, an NBA Championship. He had failed in doing so two years in a row and the Lakers were disappointed with the results. During the 2007-2008 season Andrew Bynum went down with a gruesome knee injury and the missing piece of the puzzle was acquired. Pau Gasol came to the Lakers in return of a "scrub" Kwame Brown and some quick money.

This was a plus for the Lakers but it may have been an even bigger plus for Lamar, he just didn't know it yet. Because Pau Gasol was acquired it meant that someone had to come off the bench and that somebody had to be Lamar. Lamar said if it meant winning then he would be willing to do so. So he did and it happened to be an instant success.

The Lakers ended winning their 15th title and Lamar got his first ring with the Lakers. It was probably one of the most joyful days of his hard life.

His life is a prime example of what hard work can do for a man in the real world today. Everyone should know his life story and I can't be happier for him. I mean he is playing for the most popular team in the NBA, he has an "interesting" wife, a lovely daughter, and he has all the money in the world. What else do you need?

Lamar has played for three high school teams, three NBA teams and has won one ring. I guess 7 really is a lucky number.