Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times (blog) reports:

lamar odom

Given all the pain and suffering that’s followed Lamar Odom at nearly every turn, he’s still maintained a positive outlook and has drawn inspiration from it.

His mother, Cathy Mercer, died of colon cancer when he was 12. His grandmother Mildred Mercer, who raised him, died in 2004. His son Jayden, at only 7 months old, died of sudden infant death syndrome in his crib in 2006. Yet, Odom has persevered, honored them in pregame rituals and often thinks about them for both guidance and perspective.

The pain struck again this month.  Odom attended a funeral in New York for his 24-year-old cousin, who he told The Times’ Broderick Turner was killed. Then he was a passenger in a car that collided with a motorcycle and struck a 15-year-old pedestrian who later died.

“I think the effects of seeing [my cousin] die and then watching this kid die, it beat me down. I consider myself a little weak,” Odom told Turner. “I thought I was breaking down mentally. I’m doing a lot of reflecting.”