Los Angeles Lakers players say Lamar Odom death 'saddens all of us'

Los Angeles Lakers players say Lamar Odom death 'saddens all of us'

Los Angeles Lakers players present at Thursday's tribute to Lamar Odom, a hero to Kobe Bryant's wife, Vanessa, say they were devastated by the news of his death from a drug overdose at age 36.

The Lakers revealed that they would honour their teammate and friend with a special postgame ceremony in which they planned to get together and watch video highlights of his career and raise a banner with his number to the rafters of Staples Center.

But the evening turned somber when Lakers fan and founder of the global late-night podcast Sway In The Morning Sway Calloway, took to the airwaves of his show, urging fans to pray for the future of Bryant's wife, Vanessa, who learned of Odom's untimely death.

'Make some noise for Vanessa Bryant, the wife of Kobe Bryant,' he said. 'Make some noise for the wife of someone that was not in LA that loved you guys as much as you guys loved him.'

The team's players and executives were visibly upset on Friday as they spoke about Odom's death.

Kobe Bryant's wife, Vanessa, (center) and Sway On The Chatship founder Sway Calloway (right) (left) were among the speakers during Thursday's tribute to Lamar Odom

Vanessa Bryant with Lamar Odom at The 'Black Panther' premiere at the Regency Village Theatre in Hollywood, California on February 4, 2016

A few weeks after he was married to Vanessa Bryant, Kobe Bryant bought this huge diamond engagement ring for wife, Vanessa, for her 28th birthday in December 2001

'It's tragic,' Kobe Bryant told TMZ Sports. 'Especially for Kobe. He had a great relationship with him. He always had a special place in his heart for him. We'll miss him.'

'It's just heartbreaking. It's more than any of us will be able to handle,' said ESPN analyst Jalen Rose, the only other member of the Odom entourage who attended the ceremony.

Some of Odom's former teammates joined Bryant in mourning.

'It's sad,' Lakers star LeBron James said. 'You wish, you always pray for people that go through difficult times and tragedies, and it's just that tough to deal with it. It was tough to watch. It was a family affair on the court. For it to be him that had a special place in his heart for us, to know that you'll never see him again, was just, I think, the toughest to watch.'

Before the ceremony Thursday, there was another shock for Bryant and the Lakers. The mother of one of the organization's star players took to social media on Thursday, to post a tribute to Lamar.

'Thanks to mom and love of my life, I've made an even better man of you today,' wrote Vanessa Bryant. 'Thank you for all the grace and the time you had with me. My forever love, Kendall.'

The Lakers were hosting the Houston Rockets when news of Lamar Odom's death broke Thursday

The Lakers players looked in a solemn mood before Wednesday's ceremony

Vanessa Bryant was at the heart of his life and his family, and was visited by their pastor in Las Vegas on Friday

Vanessa Bryant and Lamar were inseparable for seven years, and shared six children together

Lamar Odom's mother recently returned to Los Angeles after being hospitalized for a year for kidney failure

Several Lakers players have spoken out about their own struggle with addiction.

After their death, the organization marked a somber occasion in late 2009, with a ceremony to honor Odom's former teammate Metta World Peace, who had spent his entire career with the team.

At the time, five of the Lakers players-including Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Ron Artest-were dealing with their own issues. World Peace was the only one of them to attend.


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