Dear Greg Oden, This Is Sam Bowie

Hoops4life Analyst IOctober 30, 2008

Dear Greg,

Hi, Mr. Oden, sir. Can I call you Greg? I feel like the "sir" is appropriate. You look a couple of decades older than me...

Oh yeah, this is Sam Bowie by the way. Yeah, I thought you would remember me. Most people do, though not in the way I'd like them to. I mean, come on, it wasn't my fault they picked me over that MJ guy. We all knew Akeem was going to go first. And you had to choose between me, a guy who averaged 28 and 18 through high school and was an All-American in college, or some thin guy with hops? Sure, he made that big shot over Georgetown. But still, how many decent 7'3" guys come along that often?

Anyways, look Greg, I know how you feel. I know what you've done. You were huge in high school. You actually had a personality to go along with those intimidating skills and NBA-ready body. You had Mike Conley as a best friend. You guys ruled together. You racked up the individual awards - Parade High School Player of the Year two years in a row - and the same for the Gatorade National Player of the Year. A McDonald's All- American, an AP All-American, Indiana's Mr. Basketball in 2006.

Seriously, what else could you have done?

Yeah, I suppose you could have been picked for the Men's US National Squad. Then again, no high school player has done that since...oh, right. It was me, huh?

Nah. No one expected that from you. But it wasn't long before you and fellow star Conley announced you were off to Ohio State, a couple of homegrown heroes to lead that team. Fair enough.

You had a few injuries, just like me. But hey - you battled through. No one will forget you shooting left handed free throws anytime soon. And those injuries didn't stop you did they? No, you still became Big Ten Champion. You even made their first team and became the Defensive Player of the Year. And hell, you didn't even foul out of a game until the second round of the NCAA tournament - and you're a 7-footer. That is an achievement!

I'm sure you remember the Sweet Sixteen game against Tennesee? That one where you came within a shot of losing? Good job. You blocked that game-winning shot, huh? And then you steam-rolled through Memphis and Georgetown to get to the title game. Hey Greg, man don't feel bad, no one was going to stop those Gators. But you sure made it tough for them with that 25 point, 12 rebound and 4 block stat line.

Still Greg, we all know while they would have never done it without you, you would never have gotten close on your own either. Your buddy Mike sure got his that year. Enough to get him into the lottery with you. But Daequen Cook, Othello Hunter, Ron Lewis and David Lighty were all stunning that year as well. You had a great team.

The run up to the draft sure can be stressful can't it, Greg? In my day, we didn't get half the media coverage you do now, and it sure got on top of me. Good job. You've got such wide shoulders, after that huge debate about you and Kevin Durant. But you beat him out Greg. Us big men always do. GM's can't say no to us. You beat Kevin like I beat that Jordan kid.

I was real sad to hear you would miss your entire first season just because of some bad knee (oh, and how are your tonsils by the way?).

But aren't the Portland fans great? They supported you and waited. Sure, that 13-game winning streak helped, but still, it was a long wait.

And now you're here, eligible to pick up a Rookie of the Year and everything. But you went and landed on Derek Fisher's foot, and now you're out again? Another two to four weeks before you can dunk on Shaq and begin commanding that paint.

Greg. Listen, I know it's not your fault. It wasn't my fault, but that's not the point. I've mentioned that Portland fans are great. But they can only take so much. They can only wait so long. They were kind enough to wait four seasons for me.

But I've been talking to Bill. Yeah, Bill Walton. He had his body problems too, but at least he grabbed a championship for them first.

Yeah we had a talk, and we're starting to feel a bit guilty. We can't really do this to the city anymore can we? I mean, if it hadn't been for Clyde the Glide, the fans all would have turned to ice hockey or something, what with the JailBlazers and stuff.

So, we were kind of wondering if you could make this ankle sprain the last injury for a while? Because we're not sure Portland can take another one. We were actually sort of hoping (if it's not too much trouble) if you could begin averaging a double-double? And get the R.O.Y (the award, not your teammate)? Maybe even make the playoffs? Umm, an All-Star berth and some actual playoff success within the next two years would be great.

And yeah, generally, if you progress to be the next decade's Shaq and just make Amare and Superman start shaking in their Nikes and Adidas' respectively. If you could leave the game as one of the top big men and just become what we thought you would be, well, that would be awesome. I was supposed to, but I never really got around to it.

Oh, and you might want to hurry, because that Kevin kid is starting to wear Jumpman stuff now, and the whole situation is becoming a bit too similar.

Thanks Greg. Good luck with it all. Give Portland what they deserve, yeah?

Sam Bowie (A.K.A that guy that got picked before Jordan. No, not Akeem, the other one).