An Ode to Oden

By DJ Byrnes on February 24, 2012 at 1:45p
62 Comments
RT @richarddeitsch: My new favorite Twitter stat: @JessicaSimpson (4,657,069) has more followers than @nytimes (4,543,737).Looking at this is like looking at a picture of my dead cat.

On Monday, Greg Oden, the #1 pick in the 2007 NBA draft and crown jewel of the "Thad Five", was in Vail, Colorado, for a routine surgery on his knee. (Similar to what Trent Richardson recently had done, sounds like.) When the surgeon opened up Oden's left knee, however, he discovered additional damage. The needed microfracture surgery was done on the spot.

Afterwards, it was announced Greg Oden would miss the remainder of the 2011-2012 season. It was hard news for the five year NBA vet, who has now had three microfracture surgeries (five knee surgeries over all) and only played in 82 regular season games during his career.

For fans of Oden's team, the Portland Trailblazers, it was even worse. It was their franchise who chose Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan, and now, 23-years later, it appears they repeated the same mistake by taking Greg Oden over Kevin Durant. (Not to mention, their All-Star shooting guard, Brandon Roy, was forced into an early retirement due to knee problems this off-season as well.)

Going forward, there probably won't be many mentions of Greg Oden without Sam Bowie, namely because they both have poorly erected, big bodies and were taken in drafts in front of future stars. (MJ becoming the 2nd best player to ever play the game, and Durant being the best small forward of his generation not named "LeBron James" [and with a chance to grab LeBron's torch likely coming this June].) Bowie, though, managed to play in the NBA for a decade. I'm not sure Greg Oden will make it that long. (Oden isn't retiring, but his days in Portland are probably over.)

Not to say a man who made 23 million dollars while working one year out of five is worthy of your pity, but it makes me sad to watch Oden reduced to jokes about his age, all three of his legs being of unequal length, and his draft status. I enjoyed watching Greg Oden play basketball, but he also changed the way I looked at sports.

Greg Oden was the first athlete in my life that made me realize, "Good Golly, that dude there is younger than me!" My whole life, athletes had always been bigger, larger-than-life figures. Then suddenly one day, there was this marker on my own life's mortality, and it came in the form of a 7-foot black kid from Indianapolis who looked like he fathered LeBron James. Suddenly, I felt as if I knew what it was like for Caesar to come across that statue of Alexander the Great in Spain. There were kids younger than me who were balling and acquiring currency and stacking women. It was a radical notion. 

Like a lot of white middle class bros in America, I grew up with some idealized belief about sports. I thought shoes stitched together by a thirteen year old in China for 13 cents a day gave me super powers. I thought sports were some proving ground between "right" and "wrong". I hadn't realized sports were just another commercialized commodity fueled by greed, no better than those "AWEE SHIT, KIM KARDASHIAN HAS A BUN IN THE OVEN, AND THE BAKER IS JEREMY LIN" celebrity-gossip rags dudes generally roll their eyes at in grocery stores.  (For the record, if Kim Kardashian were to ever have a baby with Jeremy Lin, just know I would already swinging naked from a twine noose in my closet with a neatly folded American flag on the floor to catch my evacuated feces.)

My sources have been unable to confirm Jeff Green's recent heart surgery was product of years of nightly heartburn which mysteriously appeared in his life after this near-death encounter. WHY THE HELL COULDN'T THIS HAVE GONE IN?

That's why, in 2006 when I was home for Christmas break, I took up an offer from my best friend to take in an Ohio State basketball game. I have never cared for college basketball, so it was much chagrin when we got to the game and it turned out Oden wasn't yet fit enough to return from his wrist injury. To make matters worse, my friend's seats were literally in the last row of the Schott. Between the vertigo and nausea created by the altitude of the seats/angle from which we had to watch, we left at halftime, probably to do super cool things like drink Natural Light from a can while being surrounded by other people drinking Natural Light from a can.

I missed Greg Oden that night, but I didn't miss much of him the rest of the year when he finally returned from injury sabatical. It was helped by the fact Ohio State had three future NBA players on it (four once David Lighty gets his proper shot), but Oden was the primary reason I watched. I couldn't get enough of the stoic way in which he went about obliterating all those who stood in front of him. (He could have easily been Bill Russell and won 11 straight titles in an era where players smoked Marlboro Reds at halftime.)

Oden averaged 15 pts and 9 rebounds a game during his 32-game career at Ohio State, but he saved his best work for when the lights shined the brightest. Sure, Ron Lewis saved the Thad Five in the first round, but Greg Oden put up 14-12 as a freshman in a game where he also nearly killed a Xavier player, which was awesome; if for nothing else, than to see the primal fury which was acually boiling under the tranquil sea of his exterior during games. (This incident then led to one of the saddest public meltdowns of all time and Oden being labeled a "thug" , a descriptor which I can only guess he earned for being black.) 

Before proceeding as such, I was going to divert a whole post to Greg Oden's national title game effort: 25 points on 15 shots, 12 rebounds (8 defensive, four offensive), one assist, one steal, and four blocks against one of the greatest college basketball teams of all time. It was one of the most Herculean efforts I've ever seen in a college basketball game. Years later, it's a performance that I feel will never be truly appreciated by Ohio State fans because it was the capstone on a career which will probably also never be truly appreciated by Ohio State fans. Not that I can blame them, I'm not sure I would have had the same appreciation for it if his and my parents hadn't had sex 12 months apart. 

I don't know where Greg Oden goes from here. Because of his pedigree, an NBA team will take a waiver on him if he comes back from yet another surgical setback. Though, he will certainly become more of a punch-line on the national scene as Kevin Durant and That Team Oklahoma City Stole from Seattle continue their ascent. Greg Oden deserves better than this, but then again, Greg Oden deserved better bone structure than the brittle one the Gods gave him. Maybe that's just the tragedy of Greg Oden's athletic career.

The Buckeyes faithful turned from Greg Oden to Kosta Koufos to Byron Mullens to Jared Sullinger. Byron and Kosta Koufos -- SHOCKINGLY!!! -- have earned their spots in the NBA; and Jared Sullinger is well on his way. Hopefully history won't let Greg Oden fall through the cracks.

62 Comments

Comments

GABuckeye's picture

I'll be the first to admit that I really feel for the guy, but..... is it just me or does anyone else think he looks like he's 50 years old!  I want to see his birth certificate!!

BrewstersMillions's picture

Michael the 2nd best? OH NO HE DI-UNT! I will save that argument for another time as I know that isn't the point of this piece.

More on point. Oden, even more than Bowie, is such a sad case of what could have been. Legit 7 footers are rare in this day in age. Legit 7 foot defensive terrors are even more rare while legit 7 footers who are defensive terrors and can score in the paint and from about 15-17 feet with consistency are really only named Patrick Ewing.  Greg could have been the next great 5 in the NBA and his body let him down. Its really a shame. He could have been a dominating center in the build of Pat, Hakeem, David Robinson, etc. Really just a shame all around. And he's a likeable dude. I'm not ashamed to admit it-I feel worse when likeable guys bust.

Do I come off as arrogant? Shame on me, I was hoping it would more obvious.

johnblairgobucks's picture

hakeem > Ewing, Robinson, etc.  Hakeem may be the least talked about NBA all-time greats ever.

Squirrel Master's picture

Sorry but for his accomplishments, the least talked about center is Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Guy has 5 rings and is the all-time leading scorer. Guy doesn't even have a statue. He is the Rodney Dangerfield of the NBA.

It is hard to say. So many say Magic for his all around abilities (the guy was a 6'9'' PG who can play center), most say Jordan was the best. I will have to put my #1 on Bill Russell. He has enough rings to to fit on each finger and 1 on his toe. 11 Champs in 13 seasons! not to mention he went up against 2 of the best ever (Kareem and Wilt) and still won all those champs. His stats aren't bad either!

Edit: oh and the MVP of the finals is named after him. Not Jordan, not Magic!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

BrewstersMillions's picture

Rings help paint the picture but they aren't enough for me. I guess when it comes down to "Greatest Ever", you know it when you see it. When YOU see it, you seel Russell, when I see it (mind you I grew up in Chicago in the 90's) I see Michael and I'd presume when DJ sees it it's Magic. None of us are right, none of us are wrong.

Do I come off as arrogant? Shame on me, I was hoping it would more obvious.

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

It will always be Michael Jordan to me, and no one comes close.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

klfeck's picture

MJ was easily the greatest BB player of all time not just because he was one of the best to ever play, but because he was the only one who made non BB fans watch basketball.

Kevin

OH!!!!!

Proud parent of a Senior at The Ohio State University

Squirrel Master's picture

Very True. They each are great and some of this younger generation will say Kobe or even Lebron because that is who they grew up watching. There was no one more motivated than Jordan. That guy could will a championship in his sleep he was so competitive.

I didn't grow up watching Russell, too young, but he probably had the most dominating career out of all of them. For me its not so much the rings but the fact he almost won a ring in each year he was in the league. He also won when he was the best player and the head coach. thinking about what he did and how dominant he was someone would think he must have been 7'4''. The guy is only 6'10'' at the most. He would be dwarfed by centers today, but I am very confident in his prime he could play with the best of them. Of course I can say that about Jordan and Magic as well. All 3 were just so superior to the rest.

Just to throw it out there, starting 5:

PG - Magic, SG - Jordan, SF - Larry Bird, PF - Tim duncan, Center- Bill Russell.

Lebron has more talent than Bird but Bird is just so clutch!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

William's picture

Good starting 5. Also LeBron will never be as good as Bird.

Squirrel Master's picture

I wouldn't say never but right now he is not even close.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

wside buck's picture

eventually you'll have to put him ahead of bird because he will end up being in the top 5 all time scoring leaders probably only behind jabbar. he'll probably also have at least one more MVP award too. Also wilt > russell

Squirrel Master's picture

Wilt has better statistics but Russell was drivin to win. I will take that over talent. If not then we might as well talk about Lebron as the best overall but we are not. Wilt didn't have enough competitive desire. He was too busy banging 15-20 women a night. Not to mention Wilt was huge. He was a true 7'1'' with a huge reach when there were very few players that size back then. He had every built in advantage to be that dominant. and I don't buy into the argument that Russell had better teams. wilt's team was good enough to win 2 championships. They were just fine!

I would take Russell if I wanted to win!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Jdadams01's picture

I'd take Russell's team of Hall of Famers if I wanted to win. The guy was a great, great player, but shouldn't be in the top 5 when we talk about individual great players. He had a great drive to win, awesome rebound, and terrific defense. But Russell did not control games. Without all those players around him, he doesn't win all those titles. That team was more stacked than any other in history.

William's picture

LeBron hasn't won a title. Bird won 3, and was Finals MVP twice. LeBron hasn't even come close to sniffing that. Also Bill Russell IS the greatest of all time. 11 titles in 13 years. 12 time all-star, 5 time MVP. Averaged 22.5 rpg. Jordan won 6 titles, Russell nearly doubled that, even if Jordan had tougher competition his accomplishments can't hold a candle to Russell's. 

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

NO LOVE FOR SIR CHARLES?!?! 6'4" DOMINANT power forward, and an SNL legend.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

BuckeyeSki's picture

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

Squirrel Master's picture

Sorry. I put Tim Duncan ahead of him. Sir Charles does have Duncan in regards to personality.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

BuckeyeSki's picture

And drunken excitement during All-Star weekend

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

Charles was just unfortunate, like many others, to have played in the Jordan era. Without MJ playing baseball, Hakeem woulda gone 0-fer as well.

 

Victims of the Jordan Era:

Malone, Stockton, Hornacek

The Mid 90s Cavs

Charles Barkley/Kevin Johnson

Patrick Ewing

Reggie Miller

Hakeem*

Gary Peyton and Shawn "too many kids" Kemp

 

...and the list goes one and on...

 

and then Duncan didn't win until the lockout shortened season(probably helped to have the Admiral at your side), and then again when the Lakers took a dive and the rest of the NBA didn't have any legit teams.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

This! Nobody got (or will get) calls like MJ.

Squirrel Master's picture

Sir Charles does have his space in history but even outside of the rings, Duncan is a way better player. Charles could step out and hit the 3 but Duncan is so much more skilled around the basket.

Admiral was only there for 2.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Bucknut-in-the-South's picture

I am obviously older than the rest of you arguing about all-time greats, so my bias will tend toward players in the early days of the NBA.  Names like Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Wes Unseld, Bill Bradley, Bob Cousy, and John Havlicek come to mind when I think of great NBA players, but one name stands above the rest.  Take a look at this stat line:

61-62 Cincinnati   12.5   11.4   30.8

In order, that is rebounds, assists, and points.  With apologies to MJ, LeBron, Magic, et al, the clear choice for the greatest basketball player ever is the only man ever to average a triple double for a full season, the Big O, Oscar Robertson.  He doesn't have the rings some of the others do, through no fault of his own, nor, for some unknown reason, does his name carry the cachet that attaches itself to so many players of a more charismatic bent.  But, for sheer, all-around excellence, and balletic grace on the court, he remains unmatched in the annals of professional basketball.

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

I respect that state line, but the level of competition wasn'y nearly what it is today and esepcailyl not what it was in the 90s which is probably the peak of the NBA.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

Bucknut-in-the-South's picture

Southbay, that may or may not be true.  An argument can be made that, due to the smaller number of teams, the great players were more concentrated than they are today, and there were fewer nights when stars were guarded by guys like Craig Ehlo.  Any comparison of eras is always going to be difficult to make, but I believe O would have been just as dominant no matter when he played.

btalbert25's picture

Didn't see you comment, I went on a rant about him below. I dont' know that people could simply say that because the game wasn't as competitive that he would've have been just as good.  His first 4 or 5 seasons in the league were unreal, followed by many other great seasons.  Sure he tailed off at the end of his career but who doesn't.

 

gwalther's picture

Bill Russell?!?!

HAKEEM OLAJUWON would've eviscerated Russell, who somehow only managed 15 points a game even though he was consistently defended by 6'2 white guys.

Hakeem > Shaquille, Russell, Ewing, and Robinson.

Only guy there's a debate about is Kareem, and thats only because I need to see 70's Kareem footage to confirm my suspicion that Olajuwon is better.

I mean, shit, give The Dream Magic effing Johnson for 9 years of his career and he would have at least 5 titles too.

The Dream played with 3 All Stars: Otis Thorpe, Clyde Drexler (for 2.5 seasons at the end of his career, and the won a title in one of them), and Barkley when he was getting fat and old(only 1 all star season in Houston).

Stop being brainwashed by Simmons about Bill effing Russell.

Class of 2008

Squirrel Master's picture

Simmons can go take a crap. I don't listen to his brain washing about the greatness of Boston. I pick Russell because of what I see. A player that was very dedicated and came with it every night. Stats are nice but then you would include Shaq and Karl Malone since they both are in the top 10 in points and probably rebounds. but I look at dominance of an era. Jordan dominated an era. Magic and Bird each shared one, but outside of each other they killed their opponent. Russell was the best player on a team that obliterated an era. Despite how good his team was, I would still take Pippen or Kareem over Cousy, Russell was the best player on his teams that went 11-13. He also coached for a couple of them. Magic and Jordan probably could have, although I doubt Jordan's coaching and team management skills right now, but not many players could do that.

I agree Olajuwon was great. He made Shaq look foolish with his moves. Ewing had no chance. but I agree with was is said earlier, if Jordan stayed in the league Olajuwon would probably never gotten a ring.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

TNBuckeye1421's picture

mJ 2nd I think not how many rings???? "That's the only argument I need Shawm!"

johnblairgobucks's picture

I've been following OSU basketball since 1985.  I would love to see Perry Carter and Oden play a game of one on one in their prime "OSU" days.  Ken Johnson vs Oden would also be fun to watch.

 

Big Swede's picture

Can't forget about his huge block at the buzzer of the Tennessee game in the sweet 16. The guy simply owned the paint on D. 

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

who's Bryon Mullens?

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

Squirrel Master's picture

I still call him BJ. Sad part is he has had a more successful career in the NBA than Oden, paid alot less though.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

OurHonorDefend09's picture

If OSU had Oden at C instead of Sully, they would be concensus #1 team by far...

 

:(

Don't give up... Don't ever give up.

carence's picture

Jordan the 2nd best? No more reading articles written by DJ Byrnes!

DJ Byrnes's picture

Magic Johnson shits on Michael Jordan as a basketball player. But hey, don't let me get in the way of a legend manufactured by Nike. 

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

BuckeyeSki's picture

Michael Jordan filled arenas, Magic Johnson cleared them with one scrapped knee

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

Squirrel Master's picture

now that is low. So low Michael would strike out on it!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

BrewstersMillions's picture

Manufactured? Come on dude, you can't be serious. No one played both sides of the ball better than Jordan. He gets his credit for the points and the dunks and the rings. No one was a bigger serial killer in the 4 quarter of NBA games either. Aside from all of those things, Jordan was the best defender of his era, if not ever.

 

Manufactured....

Do I come off as arrogant? Shame on me, I was hoping it would more obvious.

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

I'll stick with Jordan just because I live in LA and hate the Lakers and Laker fans.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

Jdadams01's picture

Plus, Magic played with Worthy, Perkins, Kareem, etc.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

MJ got every single call to go his way. Not saying he isn't the greatest, but if he played today, not sure how he'd stack up.

btalbert25's picture

I don't know I constantly hear how every great player gets all the calls because they've "earned it" whatever that means.  Shaq used to just knock everyone out of his way when he wanted to get a rebound.  He'd lower his shoulder and plow defenders over.  He rarely got called for a charge or over the back.   Patrick Ewings favorite move was a travel, a bad one even for NBA standards and he never got whistled.  I don't watch the game enough now, but I venture to say Lebron and Kobe get away with more than their share too. 

Jdadams01's picture

Even Magic says Michael is the best ever. Magic will always be top 5, but he didn't get it done on D. Certainly not to the level that Jordan could.

Oakland Buckeye's picture

DJ -  seriously? Magic is the most overrated all timer in NBA history. Worst pure shooter in the hall of fame, dude laid enough bricks to build his own wing. Never liked Jordan (bout as much as kobe the rapist), ever a huge Bird & Big O fan, but I have to give it to Jordan until Kobe or Lebron take it from him. Tough to compare eras, I totally disagree with the comment of less competition back then - there were half the teams with stronger rosters - NBA needs to contract about 8 teams yesterday to increase level of play. Big O is the guy up thru the 70's, Jordan best in more modern era from 80's on. O - did you read your commenting policy before commenting on Jordan? 

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

My point was that there are more highly skilled players as there were back then. They just seem, for the most part, to be deluted roster wise. The 90s were the era of superteams, and to me the best era of pro basketball yet.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

luckynewman13's picture

Sorry buddy, Michael Jordan is the greatest player to ever play the game and it's not even close.

I'll take Worthy, Perkins, or Kareem a thousand times out of a thousand over Pippin, and Magic had all 3.

Trust me when I tell you that it hurts to say that because I friggin' HATE Michael Jordan.

luckynewman13's picture

Nike had 6 MVPs in the NBA finals?

tampa buckeye's picture

Anyone that would say Jordan isn't the g.o.a.t is just being a huge hater.  Dude was money every fourth quarter.  You have to be under 27 DJ.  

 6 titles without a true center on the team will never be matched.  

buckeyechad's picture

As you said, I probably shouldn't feel that bad for a someone who made that much money but Greg Oden's story so far is just heartbreaking. Seems like such a humble and likeable guy.

On another note, I was never really aware of all the Xavier hate after that. Kinda ironic after their little brawl against UC

BuckPirate1981's picture

Love Greg, but after some great hoops opportunities, $23 million in the bank (+/- depending on how good his accountant is), and being seen as a "bigger man" than Brett Favre after his photos came out... think he'll be okay DJ. Remember meeting Oden on campus before, and really, such a humble and likeable fellow. 

And I'm sorry, but I have to go there - after watching the youtube video of Russell and Oden, given Bill got a dye job, who would you say was older? Quick, someone with photo shop... Greg Oden|Curious Case of Benjamin Button movie poster stat!

Squirrel Master's picture

They look so alike. I also think Oden could have been the next Russell he was so dominant. He could have won 4-5 rings with a decent team. I think he would have gotten better if he stayed healthy. Then we would be talking about the Lakers wanted to trade for Oden and not Howard. He could have been much better of a player!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

btalbert25's picture

In my opinion, Michael Jordan built Nike.  Sure they made shoes before him, but Nike wasn't NIKE until Jordan came along.  Anyway, one name, that I can't believe isn't even considered is the Big O.  Oscar averaged a triple double for a whole season! AVERAGE A TRIPLE DOUBLE FOR A SEASON.  Hell a player gets a triple double today and it's news on sportcenter. There were 2 seasons where he had 9.7 and 9.5 assists per game that kept him from averaging triple doubles those seasons too, and one season where he had 9.9 rebounds which kept him from it.  so .3, .1, and .5 of one stat kept him from 3 other seasons of averaging a Triple Double.  Dude doesn't get much love because he played for the Royals.  If there is ever a guy who history underappreciates, it's Oscar.

btalbert25's picture

Every year but one in his career they didn't even keep stats for steals and blocks.  Dude may have had quadrouple and Quintouple doubles that we never knew about.  C'MON MANNNNNN

Oakland Buckeye's picture

Agree on the Big O comments, glad to see several guys givin him some love here!

btalbert25's picture

I get what people are saying I mean Jordan, Kobe, Shaq, Lebron etc 50 years ago would have dominated, but they dominate now.  A player like the Big O with his skill set, could have been just as good today as he was back then, maybe better.  I can't penalize a guy because he overall the league wasn't as good as it is today. Today, is much different than when he played.   Kids are raised to play basketball.  There are camps, AAU teams, unbelievable practice facilities, a person who sets a very specific workout routine and diet for the player to be in peak fitness. Great film to study, ultra slow motion to break down mechanics of a shot.  Totally different game now.  No telling how he would've played in todays game and no telling how good Lebron would've been then without the system in place for young players to develop and technology.

It's legit for other sports too.  How would Tiger Woods have played without Titanium drivers, graphite shafts, and a golf ball that has been engineered to get spin and distance.  All of that in a much less tolerant time in a pretty intolerant sport?  How would Jack Nicholas play with today's equipment.  

Would Babe Ruth have been the greatest baseball player ever Today?  Part of me says absolutely, shorter fences, better bats, diluted pitching, he may hit over 100 homeruns a year today.  Then again much more intense media scrutiny and basically every pitcher throws over 90MPH today, hell even playing at night, it's just hard to say.  

We can only compare the guys to the competition they had to go up against during their era.  I have a feeling if Oscar played for Boston or another team and won a few titles along the way, he would a player in the conversation all the time.  

Rooster Buckburn's picture

Labeled a thug because the guy that gave him that moniker was/is a moron

OSUbonobo23's picture

Come on fool, Jordan is the best of all time. Don't try and slight him. Don't be a moron like a scUM fan.

I put the The, in The Ohio State Univeristy.

RBuck's picture

I had the pleasure of meeting Greg Oden right after his college career. He came across to me as intellligent and humble with a great sense of humor. But what impressed me the most was watching him get into an old Honda Civic.

"It's just another case of there you are". ~ Doc (1918-2012)

WildMan Leather and Lace's picture

The Oden Scream against Purdue.  One of my favorite moments ever.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3Cu5v7FBKA&feature=player_detailpage

Portland Buckeye's picture

I moved to Portland a few months after Oden was drafted. So much hype and promise followed him out here. I've always supported and defended him because I've always had the impression that he's a great guy.

I was watching the 2007 Wisconsin game at the Ohio State bar in town and walked past a huge man on my way to the restroom. It was on the way back that I did a double take a realized it was Oden. Guy was just hanging out, standing around with some of his friends watching the game. He came across as down to earth and very humble.

He'll always be one of my favorite buckeye basketball players, whether his body allows him to play in the NBA or not. He's a great example that character matters whether you're successful or not.

acBuckeye's picture

1) The Xavier game was in the second round, not the first.

2) Magic barely knew what the word "defense" meant. Thus, MJ = the best ever.