Reports: Lamar Odom out of coma, “conscious, breathing on his own”

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Friday has been filled with good news for Lamar Odom, and it seems he has turned a corner, at least partially.

Sources told NBC News’ sister site E! that he is out of his coma, off “life support and breathing on his own, and he opened his eyes and spoke.”

Odom is “conscious, breathing on his own” and said a few words on Friday, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. He is still wearing an oxygen mask, but he is no longer intubated, she said on ESPN’s SportsCenter. This follows news that his heart was showing improvement as well.

According to the London celebrity tabloid the Mirror, Odom looked at his estranged wife Khloe Kardashian and said, “hey baby.”

Odom was rushed to a Las Vegas area hospital on Tuesday after being found unconscious at a brothel 70 miles outside Vegas, where he had reportedly been for days doing drugs and drinking. He was rushed to the hospital after being discovered by one of the employees of the brothel.

Odom is not out of the woods. He is still in the intensive care unit, and he is still in critical condition. Beyond that, he likely has suffered some level of brain damage — potentially fairly severe damage — from the stroke that sent him to the hospital in the first place.

But all this news lifts one’s spirit.

Like other members of the media who dealt with Odom, not to mention his teammates, I am a big fan of Lamar Odom the person. The guy I met in the Lakers’ locker room over the years was genuine, emotional, sensitive, had a great sense of humor, and he had a huge heart that he wore on his sleeve. His personality was part of the reason he struggled to deal with everything thrown at him, and like many of his fans it has been hard to watch his downward spiral. I hope nothing but the best for Odom going forward, and Friday was a great first step in the right direction.