By Michael Liedtke
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
SAN FRANCISCO _ Lamar Odom’s bizarre downfall from a former Los Angeles Lakers star to a lost soul in a Nevada brothel had the world searching Google for answers more than any other topic this year.
A four-day binge in October that culminated in Odom being found unconscious in the Nevada “Love Ranch” placed him atop Google’s list of hottest searches during 2015. The annual breakdown released Wednesday ranks the inquiries that triggered the biggest spikes in traffic on Google’s dominant search engine, excluding queries about sexually explicit subjects.
The interest in Odom eclipsed January’s lethal attacks in France at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a mobile game called “Agar.io” that lets multiple players devour cells in a virtual petri dish. In the U.S., two movies, “Jurassic World” and “American Sniper,” ranked behind Odom.
Other search engines, social networking company Facebook and short messaging specialist Twitter already released their own takes on this year’s collective mindset, but Google’s is considered to be the definitive look into what’s on people’s minds. That’s because Google processes two out of every three search requests in the world, a position that translates into trillions of inquiries each year.
Odom’s saga fascinated people who aren’t even sports fans because he married reality TV star Khloe Kardashian in 2009 while he was still a key player on a Laker team that went on to win its second consecutive National Basketball Association championship. He hasn’t played in the NBA since 2013.
During Odom’s stay in Nevada, brother workers said they saw him drinking alcohol and taking supplements sold as “herbal Viagra.” The brothel’s owner said Odom had spent $75,000 on two women who took him to a VIP suite.
Tragedy tends to generate a lot of searches. The suicide of comedian and movie star Robin Williams made him Google’s top search topic last year.
Odom, 36, also was Google’s most-searched person on its 2015 world rankings, followed by former mixed martial arts bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and Caitlyn Jenner, who was Odom’s father-in-law before transitioning to life as a woman in 2015.
Rousey was the most searched athlete in the U.S., edging out Holly Holm, the woman who pummeled her last month to take her championship title.
Google also provided the lists for the top searches in a wide variety of categories, including movies (“Jurassic World”), television (“Big Brother Brazil”) and musical artists (Adele).
Google’s lists: http://google.com/2015