Greg Oden is a deeply private person, so there are so many new admissions that make his NBA career even more of a tragedy in this interview with Grantland contributor and former Ohio State teammate Mark Titus. The whole thing is worth reading just to get a picture of all the misfortune Oden had to deal with beyond, you know, his serious knee injuries.
Some highlights of the piece:
- The broken wrist that Oden suffered prior to his only year at Ohio State wasn't actually a basketball-related injury. He was actually injured protecting his brother Anthony in a fight, even though they never really got along.
- He learned his best friend died in a car accident just moments after one of his best games of the season in a two-point win over powerful Michigan State.
- Thanks in part to his struggles dealing with that tragedy, as well as being left to his own devices and running in the wrong crowds, Oden, by his own admission, "pretty much became an alcoholic" in his second year in the league.
- The sports psychologist he hired later began also working for the Blazers, meaning he very easily could have been sharing notes from their private sessions with the team.
- He rushed back from injuries twice because he felt pressured to play through pain.
- The saddest part for me: his blind dog died when it went through a hotel balcony window and fell several stories to its death.
Oden said in the piece that he's still working on an NBA comeback, but my wishes are higher for him. I hope he finds peace in whatever he does.