Lamar Odom believes his drug addiction took hold after his infant son died.

The 37-year-old basketball player admits his life changed forever when he received a call to say his six-month-old son Jayden - who he had with then-partner Liza Morales - had been rushed to hospital after being found unresponsive and not only does he think about the youngster "every day", he thinks his passing was the turning point that saw his cocaine use escalate.

Lamar Odum #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers laughs after a timeout call against the New Orleans Hornets during the second half at Staples Center on December 1, 2009. Photo / Getty
Lamar Odum #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers laughs after a timeout call against the New Orleans Hornets during the second half at Staples Center on December 1, 2009. Photo / Getty

He recalled: "I got a phone call that changed my life. It was the summer of 2006. I had been out partying all night, and I hadn't gone home.

"My son Jayden was six months old at the time. He was at home in his crib. I should've been at home with him. But I was out, doing whatever.

Advertisement

"Early in the morning, I got a call from his mother. She was panicking. I was like, 'Yo, calm down. What's wrong?'

"And she said, 'Jayden ... he won't wake up... The ambulance is here. They're taking him now.'

(L-R) Former NBA player Lamar Odom's daughter Destiny Odom, aunt JaNean Mercer, son Lamar Odom Jr. and Liza Morales exit through a back door after visiting Lamar Odom in hospital. Photo / Getty
(L-R) Former NBA player Lamar Odom's daughter Destiny Odom, aunt JaNean Mercer, son Lamar Odom Jr. and Liza Morales exit through a back door after visiting Lamar Odom in hospital. Photo / Getty

"I was in Manhattan. I had to drive all the way to Long Island. When I got to the hospital, the doctors just told me that, you know, 'He's not responding.' They said, 'He's gone.'...
"I just seen him. Gone? How the f**k is that even possible? How can he be gone?

"I walked into the hospital room ... and the hurt on his mother's face, I'll never forget that. How she couldn't believe it. Six months old. Gone.

"He'd be 11 now. I used to think about what he would look like if he was still here. Actually, I still think about it almost every day.

"The doctors told us that the cause was sudden infant death syndrome. It almost sounded made-up. No explanation. No answers. Just ... gone. Like that. And you're supposed to just accept it. You're supposed to live with that.

"I think everything probably picked up at that point, with the drugs. Even subconsciously. You don't even know why you're doing it at that point. I think subconsciously, you make yourself an addict because of the trauma that you're going through."

Basketball player Lamar Odom (C), son Lamar Odom Jr and daughter Destiny Odom arrive at Nickelodeon's 2017 Kids' Choice Awards in March. Photo / Getty
Basketball player Lamar Odom (C), son Lamar Odom Jr and daughter Destiny Odom arrive at Nickelodeon's 2017 Kids' Choice Awards in March. Photo / Getty

Lamar - who also has kids Destiny, 18, and Lamar Jr., 16, with Liza, and was previously married to Khloe Kardashian - admitted he used to "look down" on cocaine and regrets ever trying it for the first time, when he was 24 years old and on vacation in Florida.

Advertisement

He told The Player's Tribune: "I wish I could tell you there was a reason for it. There wasn't. It was just an asinine decision I made.

"If I knew that it was going to affect my life the way it did, I would've never even thought about it. Never. But I did it. It turned out to be a life-altering decision.

"Right around that same time, my grandmother passed away. I lost a lot of family members in a short period of time. When I did coke, I felt good for a minute. I stopped having so much anxiety. I didn't think about the pain.

I didn't think about death. So I kept doing it more and more, but I was still in control. It wasn't like an everyday thing."