On a night when the Miami Heat played its annual Red, White & Pink intrasquad scrimmage, thoughts and hearts were heavy as former Heat forward Lamar Odom remains in a coma at a Las Vegas hospital. The game, which is held every year to raise money and awareness for breast cancer, featured players playing a game against one another in front of Heat fans.
Just before tip-off, the Heat showed support for Odom on the American Airlines Arena scoreboard.
Before taking the court, the Heat expressed their heartfelt grief for their fallen comrade.
“It’s hit all of us," Head Coach Erik Spoelstra told the media. "I think it's time for the entire NBA family to give back and give our thoughts and prayers, and kind of positive group-think to him right now."
Spoelstra, who had to stop talking a few times to get his emotions and thoughts together, called Odom a beautiful person.
“It seems strange, like he played for us for an entire career," Spoelstra said. "He’s one of the most giving and sharing human beings I’ve ever been around in my life. You always feel better when you leave a conversation or interaction with Lamar.”
Dwyane Wade, who was Odom's teammate during his rookie season in 2003-04, echoed Spoelstra's sentiments.
"He’s one of the good ones, just a good human being,” Wade said. “You don’t run into too many people like that who is just a genuine, good person. He’s just somebody you love to be around. He has had that infectious personality on everyone he has met. The impact he had on all of us individually, I can’t even explain it. It is one of those moments where it hurts.”
Wade, who has taken to Twitter to send thoughts and prayers for Odom, spoke of the way his career was impacted by Odom during his first season.
"Everyone knows that L.O. has so much knowledge about life and the game," Wade said. "And he put that on us, as young guys, and it stuck. And it stuck. And it will always be a part of me."
I couldn't sleep last night. sitting and thinking about LO as the person I know him as and thinking about what he has gone thru in his life— DWade (@DwyaneWade) October 14, 2015
everyone will ask why or say how could he do this or that. if you're not walking in life thru his eyes you will never know what it's like— DWade (@DwyaneWade) October 14, 2015
I pray ths morning for my brother. Dear God he's one of the good ones. PLEASE watch over him and listen to his heart speak #PrayersForLamar— DWade (@DwyaneWade) October 14, 2015
Chris Bosh, who has never played with Odom, spoke of the impact he had on Bosh's career from afar, particularly because the two have similar playing styles and are both left-handed.
"He was one of my heroes growing up – a 6-10 left-handed guy who was ahead of his time,” Bosh said. “Me being a history buff of the game, he’s one of the reasons why I’m in the league and the way I play. He was a huge influence to me.”
The latest reports on Odom say that he remains in a coma and that family members have been by his side since Tuesday.
According to multiple reports, Odom had checked into a Nevada brothel called the Love Ranch last weekend and reportedly spent $75,000 at the facility and used cocaine while there. In a 911 tape released on Thursday, one of the women who found Odom unresponsive in his room said Odom had ingested ten herbal Viagra tablets.
In his one season with the Heat, Odom averaged 17.1 points a game and 9.7 rebounds and helped lead the Heat into the playoffs, where they upset the Hornets in the first round.
In his best game in a Heat uniform, Odom went off on the Sacramento Kings, putting up a triple-double, scoring 30 points, grabbing 19 rebounds, and handing out 11 assists while an injured Wade was forced to sit out. Odom also had two steals and a block against the Kings that night.
"You never know what a guy is going through," Wade said Thursday. "We all think we know. No one knows what individuals are dealing with, especially someone who is deemed as successful and had the whole everything in the world, you think that their life is perfect. But he's not a person who put their burden on you."
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.