LAS VEGAS—On Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Sacramento Kings, but this night would not be remembered for the missed defensive assignments or the struggles of a young Lakers' team. This night would be remembered for an unfolding tragedy occurring in Nevada involving former Laker Lamar Odom.
TMZ first reported that the basketball star had been found unconscious at a Nevada brothel, a claim that has since been confirmed by the owner of the brothel and police. Early reports from TMZ also stated that Odom had been "intubated" which means that he could not breath on his own.
Before the game started, news of Odom being hospitalized and unconscious spread through the Lakers' locker room with team personnel looking distraught and a couple players visibly shaken.
Lakers longtime physical trainer Gary Vitti took time to talk about Odom's struggles with the team. Nick Young recounted that players like Metta World Peace and Kobe Bryant, who won titles alongside Odom, did not take the news well.
"[Vitti] told me pretty much everything about what's been going on and how Lamar was and everything and how he thought the Lakers were his family, and [the Lakers] did too," Young said Vitti talked to the guys in the locker room before the game. "He told me the story about how many people [Odom] lost in his life. It's sad. I don't know how anybody could deal with that."
"And I just seen it on Kobe (Bryant) and Metta (World Peace)'s face [sic]," Young added. "They dealt with it the hardest because they've been through wars and know [Odom] really."
In the couple hours that the preseason game played out, details about Odom's condition began to emerge. The Nye County Sheriff's department confirmed that Odom had been taken to Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas after being found unresponsive at the Love Ranch in Crystal, Nevada.
Due to Odom's height, he could not be airlifted and had to be transported by ambulance.
Bill Macdonald alluded to the tragic reports about Lamar Odom on the broadcast, saying that all Laker thoughts are with Odom and his family. — Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 14, 2015
During the broadcast of the game against the Kings, Lakers announcer Bill MacDonald sent out well wishes with a heavy heart on behalf of the team. That feeling would be echoed across social media. From fans to reporters to his former team, the Miami Heat, an outpouring of support for Odom and his family made the 48 minutes of basketball being played on the court an afterthought.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Lamar Odom and his family at this time. — Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) October 14, 2015
After all, the Sunrise Hospital was less than four miles from the MGM Grand Garden Arena where the Lakers and Kings played a mostly meaningless preseason game.
After the game, Bryant left the arena without speaking to reporters, and World Peace repeated that he did not have anything to say when asked about Odom, a former AAU teammate. World Peace looked troubled by the news of his old friend.
"There's not one word right now that I could say that's going to make sense," World Peace said.
Somehow, those words made the most sense.
Notes: Kobe Bryant left the game with a bruised lower leg and did not return.