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Lamar Odom was never supposed to amount to anything.

Lamar Odom’s father was a heroin addict. His mother died of colon cancer when he was 12. He was bounced around from high school to high school before getting a basketball scholarship that he eventually lost during his freshman year. Even in the NBA, he failed drug tests and had his career stymied by the fact he was drafted by the Clippers. His son died at six-and-a-half months while the family was at an aunt’s funeral, then he was robbed a gun point. Lamar Odom should not have succeeded. He should have been a guy who had a cup of coffee in the league before losing it all.

But Odom overcame the odds and became a key component to a two-time NBA championship team. At one point, he was a top-tier all-around basketball player, former sixth-man of the year and a FIBA gold medalist. Lamar Odom’s career and life up until a few years ago was a story about perseverance and surviving when society gave him no incentive to flourish.

Then things fell apart. I don’t know if Lamar Odom battled demons from his past, caved under the weight of reality TV and his relationship to “America’s First Family” *insert wanking motion* or a combination of factors we don’t even know about. But somewhere along the line, addiction, depression and erratic behavior took over. He was dismissed from NBA teams and eventually exiled from the NBA – his life in shambles before our eyes.

Lamar Odom was allegedly found unconscious in a Las Vegas brothel last night and is in dire straits as we speak. I know this because I saw an article on Twitter with the headline that said “Khloe Kardashian’s Ex-Husband, Lamar Odom, Is Fighting For His Life.”

Beyond the tragedy of Lamar Odom’s current situation rests the fact that Kardashian worship has relegated him to an accessory. A big, Black purse or set of heels whose tragedy is only seen through the lens of their narrative. Lamar Odom isn’t a former basketball player, survivor and all-around great guy according to every one of his peer’s accounts. He’s a Kardashian storyline – literally – as it’s been reported that the Kardashians are at his hospital with a camera crew at their side. Whether true or not, the fact that story is believable tells us enough about the Kardashians.

But more importantly, this is where disregard for Black Lives intersects with worshipping a family that’s done nothing to deserve it. Cosmopolitan called the Kardashian’s America’s First Family despite the fact there’s an actual First Family that’s successful and worth looking up to. The Kardashians have been erasers and poachers of Blackness since their inception into mainstream America. They’ve co-opted Black shapes and are somehow the standard for physical beauty. They’ve co-opted the hairstyles. They’ve married and had relationships with any number of Black men they can find in order to accentuate their brand. And now, they’re using an entire Black Life to further their story – even if it means diminishing the value of that life to nothing more than a chapter in Khloe Kardashian’s story. If they did bring cameras to Lamar Odom’s possible death bed and if they do go forward with using these episodes for TV, that should be the end of anyone pretending like they have any worth to society.

But this isn’t about the Kardashians. This story is about Lamar Odom. A man who became a millionaire despite America’s disregard for his family. A man who became great when every statistic would indicate that he was destined to be a failure. So when I pray, I’ll be praying for Lamar Odom. And not “Khloe Kardashian’s Ex-Husband.”



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