Lamar Odom is returning to professional basketball for the first time in five years, but he’s not rejoining the NBA.
Odom’s return to professional basketball is notable being that he previously suffered 12 strokes and six heart attacks while in a coma after a near-fatal overdose, four years ago.
“My doctors say I’m a walking miracle; they’re amazed that I’m here,” Odom told the LA Times.
“I always knew I had a strong will. I think my will is even stronger than I believed it was. It’s a testament that God is good. When I woke up and I couldn’t talk or walk I never thought I would be here. I never thought I would play basketball again or talk to you. Just to be here is a win for me.”
The 39-year-old hasn’t played in the NBA since his one year stint with the Los Angeles Clippers during the 2012-2013 season, and Odom hasn’t played professional basketball since the forward briefly played for Saski Baskonia in Spain in 2014.
The 6-foot-10 player said that he’s not the same ballplayer as he was before almost losing his life.
“I can’t dribble the basketball the way I used to,” Odom said. “That was a gift from God. It was just so natural for me. It was a mismatch for me with my size to be able to put the ball on the floor the way I did.”
“I guess God gave me life so he had to take something so I guess he took away some of my natural ability, which came easy to me. Ball handling and dribbling is still an issue but I have a month to work on that before the season starts,” Odom continued.
Wednesday (May 1), The BIG 3 held its annual draft in Las Vegas, and the “walking miracle” smiled when he was asked about starting the next chapter of his basketball career in Sin City where Odom almost died.
“It’s crazy because I have so much history with Vegas,” Odom said. “I almost went to school here. I almost died here. It’s crazy that this is happening for me now here. A lot of life-changing situations happened for me in Vegas. Hopefully, this will prepare me to go play one season overseas. That’s what I really want to do, and then I’ll hang it up over there. I want one more run.”