Greg Oden has no plans to play in the NBA during 2012-13 season, and it’s an absolute shame what has become of his once promising career. However, this doesn’t mean the center is hanging it up for good.
In an interview with Grantland columnist (and former Ohio State Buckeyes teammate) Mark Titus, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft opened up about his future in basketball.
Over the course of Titus’ piece, Oden mentions that he does not mind being an enigma. He also reveals very personal tidbits of information like how Portland was not good for him as a young African American with lots of money, and how the death of a close friend after the draft contributed to self-destructive habits including drinking.
One of the few things we already knew about Oden prior to this interview is that nothing has been more detrimental to his career than injuries.
Titus inquired about how Oden attempts to make a come back to the NBA after being cut by the Trail Blazers.
Here is his summary:
Right now, his plan is to take off the entire 2012-13 season, move back to Columbus, take all the time he needs to rehab his knee back to full strength, and continue working toward the degree that he abandoned after one year at Ohio State. Once he feels ready, he plans to sign with an NBA team in 2013 and (hopefully) string together a few years of injury-free basketball.
This may actually be what the beleaguered big man needs most. His chronic injury problems have been thrust into the limelight every season in which he's sat on a bench in street clothes with crutches near him.
Privacy and rest may be the best way for the young man to rehabilitate his body and mind.
When Oden was pressed on what he would do if doctors told him he could never play again, he did not sound too concerned:
I'd just have to accept it. I'm at peace with everything. I want more than anything to be able to play again. But if I can't, I'll still have a decent life. Getting cut (by Portland) kind of put everything into perspective. There's more to life than basketball, and at some point it's going to end anyway. I'm going to do what I can to get back on the court, but if it doesn't work out, I'll find something else to do and have a normal life.
It’s good to know that Oden has come to grips with his life and understands that risking his quality of life to play a few basketball games isn’t worth it. He’s made plenty of money over his admittedly disappointing “career,” and he should be grateful for what the game has given him.
Teams should still be interested in Oden when he is fully rehabilitated. If he is fully cleared by doctors and feels ready to come back to the NBA, he will find a home sometime in the summer of 2013.