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Greg Oden As Bill Russell and the Other Top NBA Failed Nexts

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Greg Oden As Bill Russell and the Other Top NBA Failed Nexts
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Sometimes life just isn't fair.

Take for example the poor folks that have to cover the Clippers this season. Just not fair.

I was doing some online research recently, reading about Greg Oden's most recent lost season, when someone turned on a radio near me. As I read about Oden's micro-fracture surgery I heard it start. I cringed, tried to drown it out by humming, but it was inescapable. I had to listen to Lenny Kravitz's rendition of "American Woman."

There was no escaping it!

It dawned on me as I continued to read about the surgery that was going to cost this promising young center another NBA season while listening to Kravitz butcher the Guess Who original song, that they both had something in common. 

I'm sure Kravitz didn't intend to destroy the song, it just turned out that way. Simliarly, Oden didn't want this to happen; I'm pretty sure he hoped he was the next Bill Russell as much as we all hoped it for him.

Where Lenny Kravitz recorded a song that makes lisening to someone scratch a blackboard while two cats fight and someone blows a bullhorn seem bearable; Oden, through no fault of his own, failed to measure up to the original, Bill Russel.

Failed "Nexts."

It is one of sports most enduring curses. Along with the dreaded "vote of confidence" and the "SI cover curse" is the "Next" label. Some welcome it, some encourage it, others ignore it, few ever measure up.

The following is a short list of the top fail failed "Nexts" in no particular order. Some never got the chance to prove their worth due to injury, others just werent that good. All five, however, have one thing in common, for one reason or another, they were a weak imitation of the original.

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