By Charles Dundley
During his basketball playing days at the University of Ohio, Greg Oden became one of the most talented and skillful center. Steve Kerr, a former NBA athlete, referred to Oden as “once in a decade player.” Teams across the NBA set their sights on the impressive center. Few, if any, paid attention to the fact that Greg Oden had surgery early in his basketball career at Ohio State.
Basketball remains in Greg Oden’s blood
That early surgery was performed to repair a ligament injury he suffered while playing basketball in high school, according to Wikipedia. In 2007, a year after he entered college, Greg Oden was drafted by the Portland Trailblazers. Many expected Oden to become a great center, similar to how Shaquille O’Neal became a dominant center while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, then later for the Miami Heat.
Yet, a series of injuries would stifle Greg Oden’s attempts to gain a strong foothold as a center in the NBA. All fans and coaches could do was imagine how talented and powerful Greg Oden would be on the court if he could get and stay clear of injuries. In 2012, after a lengthy injury, Greg Oden became a free agent.
It appeared as if he might not find a home in the NBA. But, after winning its second NBA title, the Miami Heat, the same team that acquired Shaquille O’Neal from the Los Angeles Lakers picked up Greg Oden. Rather than to start Oden at the very beginning of the season, the Miami Heat waited to unleash Greg Oden.
His first game back on the court came on January 15, 2014. The Miami Heat were playing the Washington Wizards. Although the Miami Heat lost to the Washington Wizards by a score of 114-97, sports analysts, commentators and fans were delighted to see Greg Oden back on the court.
Fox Sports reported that, “Oden played his first game in more than four years Wednesday night, and that might have been the only positive for the Heat. He played all of 8 minutes, 24 seconds and made a pair of dunks to help start a rally that had loads of promise — until it fell flat in the fourth quarter of a 114-97 loss to the Wizards on Wednesday night.”
It remains to be seen how Greg Oden will perform throughout the remainder of the NBA season. However, Miami Heat fans hope that he helps to lead them to a third NBA championship in the summer.
February 2014, after the Indiana Pacers picked up free agent, Andrew Bynum for a one year deal reported to be worth $1 million, the importance of Greg Oden showing up strong during the NBA playoffs became that much more important should Bynum play the way he did when he was with the Los Angeles Lakers. Additionally, with the way Oklahoma City Thunder has been playing of late (even without their star point guard, Russell Westbrook), if they hope to three-peat, the Miami Heat are going to need Greg Oden to provide a wealth of aggressive on the court defense.