Odom’s lawyer sent a letter to the sports network on Friday following Smith’s comments, which came on Thursday during First Take. Smith was discussing the possibility of a different player being traded by Knicks owner Phil Jackson, then launching his Odom reference.
“[Jackson’s] very first move as executive was to sign Lamar Odom…Who was on crack!” Smith screamed. “I love Lamar Odom the person, and God bless him and we’re wishing nothing but the best — but metaphorically speaking, his first move as the executive of the New York Knicks was to sign Lamar Odom, who was on crack!”
The former basketball star — and Khloé Kardashian’s ex-husband — has a long history of drug and alcohol abuse. The 37-year-old almost lost his life in a near-fatal overdose in October 2015, hospitalized after being discovered unconscious at a brothel in Nevada.
“Let us look at what this statement does, not only to Lamar, but to any and all professional athletes that are struggling with addiction,” part of the lawyer’s letter stated, which Odom tweeted, along with the hashtag, “#slander.”
The lawyer continued, “To say that this conduct was outrageous and unacceptable does not scratch the surface. Think about the others that are battling addiction.”
The letter also indicated that Odom passed a physical and other required tests needed to play in the NBA at the time. It did not call for Smith’s firing, instead calling on the network to use the matter as an opportunity to become more involved with the cause of addiction.
Odom’s 17-year-old daughter Destiny spoke publicly for the first time about her father’s overdose and his journey in the new People/Entertainment Weekly (PEN) feature, Surviving A Father’s Addiction: Lamar Odom’s Family Speaks Out.
FROM PEN: The death of Lamar Odom’s baby son sent him spiraling into drug addiction, his ex reveals
“I used to worry that [my dad’s] addiction was my own fault but after talking to therapists and drug specialists, you just know the way that an addict’s brain is chemically wired,” said Destiny. “They can love you, they would do anything for you, but at the end of the day, there’s a chemical dependency on drugs.”
She added: “When your parent’s an addict and they get clean, it’s like a whole new world. When he’s clean, he’s more able to see the pain that he’s caused.”