“I understand not everyone watches sports, but ‘Kardashian reality star?’ His name is Lamar Odom, and we knew it, long before he got married on a TV show that we don’t watch.”
Straight up, since its first edition last month the Scott Van Pelt-piloted late-night SportsCenter has quickly become appointment viewing — on more than one occasion my occasionally washed self held off impending sleep to check out his “Where in the World Isn’t SVP” or “One Big Thing” segments.
But last night SVP’s SC provided its first essential moment, the kind of moment that only a forward-thinking and thoughtful sportscast (of which we’ve lacked so much of in recent years) provides.
With this short editorial on the mainstream/tabloid-based media coverage of former NBA star Lamar Odom ongoing fight against death in a Las Vegas hospital, Van Pelt said the exact words anyone approaching this story with knowledge of Odom’s athletic history would choose to offer to rebut half-ass reports from so-called “entertainment” reporters who only saw the full 6-11 frame of Odom in brightly-lit hallways following Khloe and her bullshit.
Now, I’m not one of those people who’s going to put up a meme liking the Kardashians to witches or illuminati-led succubi (I actually believe, from the little I knew of them, that Lamar and Khloe’s relationship was loving and genuine while it lasted) but its clear that Odom’s individual star-crossed path became even more twisted as it intertwined with a woman who’s family dynasty is built on media hype and dangerously transparent personal platforming.
Kanye West will probably live the rest of his live with Kim Kardashian. Why? Well, he came into that circus with his own tent already set up. Lamar, like 99.5 percent of us not named “Kanye Omari,” lived a more private life overall, his skillful abilities as a basketball player weren’t congruent with living a completely private life but they weren’t an excuse to bear all his personal pain for everyone to see at all times.
It’s been reported that an episode of Odom’s in-laws’ ubiquitous reality show helped push him over the edge and into the perilous position he’s been in the rest of the week. If that’s the case, then the ongoing coverage as mis-framed as it is is tragically more on the ball than we’d like to admit.
Still, even if “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” figured into the chemical toxin that ends his life, Lamar Odom was so much bigger than that, his career at Rhode Island was bigger than that, let alone what he did in the NBA.
It’s just unfortunate that what was once seen as excellence in this society is edging more and more into something physically and mentally inert and that in tragedy some translation has to be enacted to get to the heart of why we should care that a once promising contributor of our shared culture has hit rock bottom and may not get back up.
Credit: SB Nation/The Cauldron
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