It’s been over three years since Greg Oden played a basketball game in the NBA. Still, he hasn’t given up his dream of making it without another injury getting in his way, and it looks like the Miami Heat are the team most willing to offer him possibly one last shot at succeeding in pro-basketball.
Oden, 25, was recently seen in a Ohio State game and said that he hopes to be healthy enough for next season in order to take on final jab at the NBA.
I don’t know when, but I’m taking this year off. I’ll play next year. Right now, I’m not worrying about where. I’m only worried about my knee.
Greg Oden was the number one pick in the 2007 NBA draft, one ahead of Kevin Durant. The Portland Trail Blazers watched Oden miss the entire 2007-2008 season, go on to play 61 in his actual rookie season, averaging 8.9 points and 7 rebounds per game. He showed quite an improvement in the 2009-2010 season, averagign 11.1 points and 8.5 rebounds before another injury to his knee took him out of the season on December 5.
On November 17, 2010, the team announced that Oden would have microfracture surgery on his left knee, ending his 2010–2011 season. He missed the entire 2011-2012 season after more problems with his knee and having more surgery on February 2012, which revealed more damage on his other knee, leading to another surgery. The Blazers waved him a month later after giving them 82 games between 2007 and 2012.
Before Oden goes down in history as the greatest bust in NBA history, he’s up for another shot. The Miami Heat will be meeting with Oden next week, taking a look at his situation and possibly discussing joining the team next season. The Cleveland Cavaliers are also interested in him, but for now, only from afar. Still, teams think that what Oden showed in just one year in College hasn’t disappeared, and at 25 with virtually no playing time on his legs, there’s still a chance he might become a productive big man and piece for any NBA team.
Then again, history tells us that big men with repeated ankle or knee problems don’t last very long – for example Yao Ming, who put up wonderful numbers when healthy, but couldn’t last more than 7 seasons in the NBA, playing in 486 games between 2002-2010. Some people weren’t meant to have long successful careers in the best basketball league.