Photo: Lamar Odom (AP)
CHICAGO -- I normally do this on Saturdays, but let me do it today anyway because I have an urgent confession to make,
I've watched a few episodes of the TV reality show Keeping up with the Kardashians. And I did so willingly, not under threat from my dear Ermee, who adores tearjerkers such as Be Careful With My Heart and the like.
I also watched Khloe and Lamar's wedding exclusive on the E! channel last September 2009, a lavish swapping of vows that still makes my eyes moist with romance.
While he seems genuinely shy, Lamar Odom of the Los Angeles Clippers appears quite comfortable on TV where millions of emotionally arrested viewers tune in at home and swoon over the lifestyles of the rich and famous.
The words Lamar and TV star seem to blend well like power and forward.
But sadly, the spotlight that is now shining on Odom is dark and sleazy. It's a sordid look at his personal demons, an intrusive play-by-play of his allegedly crumbling marriage. And as it all unfolds in the Internet and social media, the gossip vultures among us are licking at every salacious detail.
Various news sources have reported that Odom is battling an addiction. The choice of powdered poison is crack cocaine, says TMZ.com
Tabloid magazine The Insider has linked Lamar to a "cheating scandal" while newser.com said the 29-year old Khloe has kicked out her 33-year old hubby from their marital home last Wednesday.
In short, it's a hot mess.
Peers were quick to rush on Odom's side. Kevin Durant spoke about their NBA brotherhood, John Wall hopes he "figures it out," while former teammate Pau Gasol tweeted "I wish my friend @Lamar Odom is doing well. All these rumors are really worrying me. Lamar is one of the best guys I've ever played with."
Since joining the NBA in 1999, Odom has made $115.9 million in salaries. He is likable, 6-foot-10 and 230 pounds, and can score in his sleep. And he has a cavalry of adoring fans both as an athlete and celebrity.
Lamar is obviously special, but at the end of the day, he is just one of us; a human being stained with sins; imprisoned by his urges, susceptible to temptation, vulnerable to heartache, and ultimately, prone to failure.
Laker Nation is firmly behind Lamar, a member of the 2009 and 2010 championship teams. And most of those who live in the city of stars and angels are pulling for Odom as well, says fellow NBA.com Philippines writer Nick Roska, whose pulse once fluttered after meeting Khloe Kardashian in the flesh at Staples Center.
Although an All-Star nod has eluded him for 14 years, Odom is an all-star good guy, who has worked tirelessly for underprivileged children through his foundation. In 2004, the NBA honored his charitable pursuits with a Community Assist Award.
I, too, am cheering for Lamar in this deeply personal yet embarrassingly public struggle. And because of the inspiration of his three children and the unwavering support of his cherished Khloe, I'm confident Odom will prevail.
To paraphrase a line from an old Michael Douglas movie: In the darkest of nights and the fiercest of weathers, raw courage and true love will always come shining through.