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Basketball great Lamar Odom is currently fighting for his life at a Las Vegas hospital, after suffering an alleged cocaine overdose. Odom remains in a coma, with friends and family by his bedside. These are ten things you should know about Lamar’s tragic life, which has been filled with plenty of hardship and loss.

1. Devastating Childhood

Lamar Joseph Odom was born in South Jamaica, Queens, NYC on November 6, 1979. His father, Joe, was a heroin addict for most of his life. His mother, Cathy Mercer, died of colon cancer when Lamar was only twelve years old. He was primarily raised by his grandmother, Mildred.

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2. Early Basketball Career

Odom enjoyed playing basketball as a child, and his prowess at ball-playing was obvious from an early age. During his three years of high school, Odom played for Christ The King Regional High School in Queens. He transferred first to Redemption Christian Academy in Troy, New York for the basketball season and then to the now-defunct St. Thomas Aquinas High School in New Britain, Connecticut. Parade Magazine named him ‘Player of the Year’ in 1997 and he was named to the USA Today All-USA 1st Team as a senior.

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