In October 2015, Lamar Odom suffered several heart attacks and strokes after taking a deadly mix of cocaine, alcohol, and a sexual stimulant, leaving him comatose and on life support in a Las Vegas hospital. He regained consciousness three days later. Here, he discusses the aftermath of the event on Winging It With Vince Carter, with Carter, a former teammate, and Annie Finberg. Listen to the full podcast here. This transcript has been edited and condensed.
Annie Finberg: Vince, as a friend of Lamar’s, and I don’t want to get into anything too emotional, but I’m sure you remember when that happened. What was that like for you, and how did you reach out to Lamar? How have you had that relationship since?
Vince Carter: It’s [about] timing, when you see a friend go through something like that. Just all of the people that are close to him all reached out at the same time, so it’s timing. It’s like I wanted to make sure I sent, whenever he came back to us, I wanted to make sure when he looked at his phone, “We’re thinking about you. We support you. We’re behind you regardless, on your road to recovery and getting back to the person we know you can be.”
Like I said, they reached out to him. He’s a busy man. He had a lot going on likewise, but it’s like every and now then I’m just like, “Let me hit my guy up, man. See what’s going on.” It was cool. He was at the game in Atlanta during the game, sitting on the end of the bench. The game is going on. I go see him.
Lamar Odom: He made me feel like we just left the locker room in Dallas. That’s when you know you’ve got a friend, when you miss time and you can just pick up, pick up like you were just with each other yesterday.
Carter: You know how I am about my people, my friends. I felt like it was important. We play this game. We love this game, but it’s nothing bigger than friendship and people you support. That was kind of my moment I talk about being in that bubble. That’s when I stepped in that bubble to reach out to my friend, regardless of what was going on, on the court. It’ll be there.
But I hadn’t seen him in a while. It was like, “Nah, man,” and show my love and support. After the game, we’re sitting in the hallway topping it up to pick back up where we left off, just to keep up, keep in touch, and just kind of catch up with what’s going on. And then here we are.
Odom: One of the most hurtful parts about that night is that ... I think about the way I played, and my skill level. I’m like, “If that didn’t happen, I probably would still be playing.” You know what I mean?
Carter: That’s true. In today’s game?
Finberg: Oh, yeah.
Odom: I realized how much I love the game, how much I want to be around it, and soak it up as much as possible. All that time, I missed the game from making the wrong decisions off the court. I wish I had all that back now. You know what I mean? But you got to learn to live with regrets. From going through what I went through, I think God said, “I’m going to give you back life, but I got to get something in return.”
Just recently, I gave myself to Christ and got saved. I think he took some of my natural ability away, put on the floor. It don’t bounce up the same.
Carter: Right, right, right.
Odom: I can’t go between my legs and go around my back the same.
Carter: Right, right.
Odom: But like I said before, you are the company that you keep. You’ve got to surround yourself with people that want to see you the best.
Carter: Be blessed with that.
Odom: Yeah, the best you come out.