Lamar Joseph Odom was born on November 6, 1979 in Queens, New York City, to Joe Odom and Cathy Mercer. Joe was addicted to heroin and when he was twelve, his mother died from colon cancer. After her death, Lamar moved in with his maternal grandmother, Mildred Mercer, who took care of him till he was of age. The 6 ft 10 basketball player was a student of St. Thomas Aquinas. In his senior year, he was awarded "Parade Player of the Year." This was the beginning of this basket career.