Greg Oden Discusses His Injury-Plagued Career

Greg Oden Discusses His Injury-Plagued Career

Greg: "So what is this article going to be about?"

Me: "Well, my goal is to humanize you and give people an idea of what the last five years have been like for you. You might not realize it, but you're one of the biggest enigmas in the NBA. Because of your injuries, most fans haven't seen you play. And since you never do interviews, they don't know anything about you off the court either."

Greg: "I know. And that's the way I like it."

It's hard to believe you could say this about a former no. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft who also had naked pictures of himself leaked onto the Internet, but Greg Oden is as private a person as I've ever known.

Our friendship dates back to the summer of 2001, when I joined Greg's AAU team shortly before we both entered eighth grade. My previous AAU team was comprised of a bunch of kids who were like me: upper middle class white guys from the Indianapolis suburbs. Greg's AAU team, on the other hand, was almost exclusively made up of black guys from the city. Because of this, as I entered the gym for my first practice, I felt as out of place as Christian Laettner on the Dream Team and wondered if I'd ever fit in. But it only took five minutes for this uneasiness to subside. Why? Because I realized that the tall, goofy-looking kid wearing Rec-Specs and shooting by himself on the side basket was just as shy as I was.

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