Originally published on madamenoire.com
With one hand, I can count the number of episodes of Keeping Up With The Kardashians and any other spinoff show it has produced that I’ve seen.
While the family is a colorful bunch, I’ve never been a fan. Not for some of the more mean-spirited reasons others bring up, but because they don’t really do anything. And I can’t support that. But according to my friends who tune into the exploits of the K clan, the relationship of Khloé Kardashian and Lamar Odom was always a genuine and admirable one. And from what I could read in the news, it was a supportive one as well. When he felt overwhelmed by the reality TV spotlight, Khloé had no problem standing by him. They ditched their spinoff, Khloé and Lamar, and moved to Dallas to help Odom reboot his career. But when that stint fell apart, and he found himself bouncing from one NBA team to a Spanish league team and back, not only did Odom’s career take a hit, but so did his life. His marriage. His sobriety. It was all bad from there, and he’s never been the same.
But is it fair to blame the Kardashians for that?
Odom was found unresponsive in a brothel in Crystal, Nevada days ago. Ever since the news came out about it, folks have either been blaming the Kardashian family for his struggles, or focusing on what they’re doing as opposed to Odom’s condition. Need an example? Here’s one: “Kim Kardashian and Kris Jenner ‘Dropped Everything to Comfort Devastated Khloe’ at Hospital with Lamar.”
He may as well have been an afterthought in that whole story.
Commenters on social media have said the Kardashians are the reason for his struggles. And in a piece for the Daily Mail titled, “Lamar Odom’s tragedy is that he just couldn’t keep up with the Kardashians,” Piers Morgan had this to say:
‘When Lamar Odom met Khloe Kardashian in 2009, he was an outstandingly good basketball player. I know, because I used to watch him at the LA Lakers performing wondrous feats with his great friend Kobe Bryant, helping them win back-to-back NBA championships in 2009 and 2010. He was focused, intense, combative and brilliant. The consummate professional.
‘Then he fell in love with a Kardashian and his life became public property.’
Morgan went on to say that “those sucked into their crazy world need to be very, very careful it doesn’t also suck them down in the process.”
And there are aspects of Morgan’s argument that I can jibe with. Anyone can see that once he got mixed in with that family, his life went into a tailspin. But to me, that’s because he signed up for something that he wasn’t ready for, and that’s not to be a part of the Kardashian family, but to take on the attention that comes with being attached to them. He was concerned with that at a time when he should have focused on basketball. His two kids. Still, as a grown man, that’s the decision that he made. The same decision Scott Disick, an alcoholic, made. The same decision Kanye West, a narcissist who hasn’t been the same since losing someone who rooted more for him than even he could root for himself, made. The same decision a former Bruce Jenner, now a free Caitlyn, made a long time ago. And what do they all have in common? They’re broken individuals all dealing with past pain, loss, and dysfunction. And for a family filled with that, it only makes sense that they would all be attracted to the Kardashian women.
But not every person who tangles with that family is brought down by them. Think about it. Reggie Bush made it out okay. He jumped out of the tub before the water got too cold, and the attention surrounding his relationship became too much. And while he clearly still has a physical attraction to women who look like Kim Kardashian, he’s managed to get married, have two children, and continue to thrive in the NFL.
Kris Humphries, though embarrassed as all hell by a 72-day marriage, is doing just fine as well. He’s still the butt of some jokes for his time with Kim, but he’s back to being focused on his career, playing for the successful Washington Wizards, making $4 million a year.
Hell, even French Montana knew when to get out of dodge. He wanted that notoriety. He did, for a time, try to keep up with the Kardashians. Buying Khloé Jeeps when she already had Benz trucks and Bentley coupes. Eventually, he realized he couldn’t hang, and now he’s rumored to be getting cozy with Sanaa Lathan. I would say he’s doing damn good considering how gorgeous Lathan is.
But Odom couldn’t make it out okay because he’s been struggling with demons. Beasts that were within him years before he even encountered Khloé.
His family has a history of drug addiction, as his father was MIA due to a dependence on heroin. His mother died when he was but a young kid after a fight with colon cancer. He lost his 6-month-old son in 2006 from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDs). His 24-year-old cousin was murdered in 2012, and Odom rode passenger in a car that hit a motorcyclist who ended up dying that same year. And let’s not forget that two of his good friends died a few months back from drug overdoses. All of these, he’s admitted, have affected him.
He’s lost a lot. He’s dealt with a lot. He overcame a lot. But at the end of the day, he didn’t move past the pain. So as a hurt man, it was inevitable that such struggled paired with public scrutiny, not only of his private life but also of his career as a basketball player, would break him down.
What I’m trying to say is that it’s never been about Khloé or the Kardashians. And it’s damn sure not about them and doesn’t need to be about them now that he’s fighting for his life. This is and has always been about Lamar Odom.
He’s a fragile person who, like many individuals who’ve grown up in hard circumstances, tried to put on a good face and grab life by the horns. But life can be incredibly cruel.
That’s why he turned to drugs. That’s why he turned to prostitutes in a brothel. That’s why he turned in general. Lamar Odom is where he is now because life dealt him a bad hand. A hand that left him languishing in Dallas after the team and other family he thought he could count on, the Lakers, traded him unexpectedly (and floundered without him). A hand that left him defiant when the wife he forgot about while he was making videos confessing to extramarital affairs while drunk decided she wanted him to sign divorce papers. A hand that left him with a father who jumped in and out of his life and spent more time talking crazy to the media than he did being a force of love and empowerment in Lamar’s life.
This is about Lamar Odom. The choices he made, and the circumstances he’s had to try and come out from under. And I don’t say all this to defend the Kardashians. Forget them. I say all this because, again, folks are focused on the wrong things. I say all this because I feel that less time should be spent spewing negativity at that family while making this man’s highest and lowest (and every) moments about them. Instead, save your breath and use it to pray for a man and the children he has who are really in dire straits right now. That’s the family we all need to be worried about.