The recent reports that former Los Angeles Lakers star Lamar Odom is now hospitalized in Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center in Las Vegas has caused concern for sports fans. Odom has won two NBA championships with the Lakers, and he won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award in 2011. Simply put, Lamar Odom has a proven record as a champion on one of the NBA's most elite franchises.
In light of the recent difficult situation involving Odom, the sports world may take time to reflect upon its attitudes and behaviors.
Sometimes we as Americans become so focused on sports that we sometimes lose sight of the deep emotional pain of some professional athletes. We see our heroes dunking a basketball or throwing a football or hitting a home run, however, do we take the time to reflect on the inner pain and anguish that might lurk in the soul and psyche of our athletic heroes.
Both cheering on our favorite sports teams and directly participating in sports, are part of the fabric of American culture. From the Los Angeles Lakes to the Dallas Cowboys to the Los Angeles Dodgers to the LA Galaxy, sports are forever intertwined with the American fighting spirit.
However, right now during this time of utmost need, does Lamar Odom have the full backing of the American sporting public? Are the millions of fans who cheered the Lakers during those championship seasons still rallying to boost Odom's spirits? Are sports agents, season ticket buyers, and team owners creating and financing a Lamar Odom Fund for Odom's family? Can sports fans push aside the gossip long enough to pray for Odom and his family?
Similar to the great Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom is also a true champion. His championships and accolades cannot be stripped away from him. As he engages in this battle for his life in a hospital bed, the sports world--backed by Lakers Nation--must do everything possible to save Odom's life. A family does not abandon one of its members during the hard times.
Maybe a true fan is not one who only cheers a hero as he flies high, but a true fan also uplifts that hero during his time of pain.
This essay is dedicated to Lamar Odom, his family, and his former wife Khloe Kardashian.
Mark Charles Hardie is a licensed attorney who graduated from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and the University of California, Riverside. He was an international student at the University of Costa Rica and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Mr. Hardie independently engages in pastoral counseling and bible studies.