Lamar Odom (Allen J. Schaben photo - courtesy LA Times)

*He may be young, rich and famous, but Lakers forward Lamar Odom cannot shake his worst nightmare-death.

“Death always seems to be around me. I’ve been burying people for a long time,” Odom revealed during a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times.

Odom said he first encountered death at the age of 12, when his mother, Cathy Mercer, died of colon cancer. His grandmother, Mildred Mercer, who raised him, died in 2004. Then in 2006, his infant son, Jayden, died of sudden infant death syndrome while sleeping in his crib.

Odom, 31, said their deaths were followed by cousins, aunts and friends who were struck down by the grim reaper.

July proved to be a deadly month for Odom, when he encountered death not once, but twice. Several weeks ago, the Lakers forward traveled to New York for a Nike commercial shoot. After the shoot, Odom received devastating news — his 24-year-old cousin had been shot and killed. Odom believed the cousin was murdered. He attended the cousin’s funeral on July 13.

The next day, Odom once again encountered death. Odom was a passenger in an SUV and getting his hair cut when the driver of the vehicle made a left turn and collided with a motorcycle. “All of a sudden, I hear a ‘ka-boom!’ Odom recalls.

“A man doing ‘wheelies’ on a motorcycle had jumped in front of us,” Odom said, adding that the man was coming toward them so fast that it was impossible to avoid the crash.

The motorcycle slid into another vehicle.

“I head another ‘ka-boom!’ I looked at the person…and I kind of knew that this kid just received death. I’m sitting in the car looking him right in the face. I’m like, ‘I think he’s gone.'”

The pedestrian, 15-year-old Awsaf Alvi Islam, died from head injuries the following day.

Odom said he offered condolences to Islam’s family. “But I’m sure they’re in shock,” he said.

No charges have been filed and the accident is under investigation.

“The first thing I did was call my wife (Khloe Kardarshian) and I told her we got into an accident. I said, ‘This kid is dead.’ I think just because I had seen death with my cousin, I was like, ‘Oh, I can’t believe I’m seeing this two days in a row.”

Odom said he didn’t eat much for “eight or nine days’ after the tragedies.
‘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.  I thought I was breaking down mentally.  I’m doing a lot of reflecting.”
Odom concluded, “I may need to see a psychologist.”

Odom’s full story can be accessed under “Tragic Times Again” at the Los Angeles Times website.