Friday, March 16, 2012

Greg Oden: the career that never was

Greg Oden’s release by the Portland Trail Blazers may be the final chapter in what has been one of the most hard-luck stories in all of sports. We have seen athlete’s bodies betray them before like in the case of Ernie Davis and Lou Gehrig but Oden’s has been a very unusual situation that may be far from over.

For those of us who remember Greg Oden’s college career as an Ohio State Buckeye, this has to be a really sad story. Oden with the help of fellow Buckeye and current Memphis Grizzly Mike Conley, led the Buckeyes all the way to the 2007 NCAA National Championship game before losing to the Florida Gators.

Although they lost, Oden cemented his standing as the best individual player in college basketball that year scoring 25 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and blocking four shots in the loss. 

In hindsight I guess it is more significant to note that he played the majority of the season with a protector on his right wrist because of an injury he suffered in high school. He would still go on to be the number one overall pick in the draft a couple of months later.

It’s been all downhill from there though. Oden didn’t play the 2007-2008 season after having micro-fracture surgery on his right knee making the 2008-2009 his actual rookie year.

Then he hurt his foot in his very first NBA game causing him to miss the first two weeks of the season. He would also miss three more weeks later that season with a chipped kneecap causing him to play in only 61 games that year.

Oden would play in only 21 games during the 2009-2010 season before missing the rest of the year with another knee injury.

There was hope that Oden would get to play the 2010-2011 season and finally start to live up to his considerable promise but he would end up missing the entire season after undergoing another knee surgery right before the season started.

The Trail Blazers would announce before the start of this current season that Oden had another setback. They still picked up the option on his contract in hopes that he would be able to play at some point this season but as the losses piled up, Portland’s management decided to let go of the former number one pick.

Still, Oden is only 24 years old so if he can prove at some point in the future that his knee will be able to hold up then there may be a team willing to take a chance on him but from the looks of things there may be a more serious problem with Oden’s knees that may not be curable.

So at this point Oden’s career is essentially over. Sad because Oden is probably one of the nicest people you will ever meet and no one who knows him has a bad thing to say about him. And that’s what makes this such a sad story because you never like to see good people have such bad luck.

Roosevelt Hall is an NFL Blogger for The Sport Mentalist and an NBA Blogger for The Sport Mentalist 2. He is also a Sports Reporter for Pro Sports Lives. He can be contacted at and be sure to follow him on Twitter @sportmentalist.

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